The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has announced plans to expand its routine verification testing for six Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) (non-O157 STEC; O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, or O145) as well as O157:H7.
The expanded testing will be applied to ground beef, bench trim, and raw ground beef components other than raw beef manufacturing trimmings (ie. head meat, cheek meat, weasand (esophagus) meat, product from advanced meat recovery (AMR) systems, partially defatted chopped beef and partially defatted beef fatty tissue, low temperature rendered lean finely textured beef, and heart meat) for samples collected at official establishments.
Currently, FSIS only tests its beef manufacturing trimmings for these six non-O157 STEC and E. coli O157:H7; all other aforementioned raw beef products are presently tested for E. coli O157:H7 only.
FSIS also intends to test for these non-O157 STEC in ground beef samples that it collects at retail stores and in applicable samples it collects of imported raw beef products.
FSIS is requesting comments on the proposed sampling and testing of ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components. FSIS will announce the date it will implement the new testing in a subsequent Federal Register notice.