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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONTROL OF PATHOGENIC AND SPOILAGE BACTERIA ON RED MEAT

Location: Meat Safety & Quality Research

Title: Prevalence and Enumeration of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in U.S. Abattoirs That Process Fewer Than 1,000 Head of Cattle Per Day

Authors
item Bosilevac, Joseph
item Arthur, Terrance
item Bono, James
item Harhay, Dayna
item Kalchayanand, Norasak
item King, David
item Shackelford, Steven
item Wheeler, Tommy
item Koohmaraie, Mohammad - FORMER ARS EMPLOYEE

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 18, 2009
Publication Date: May 20, 2009
Citation: Bosilevac, J.M., Arthur, T.M., Bono, J.L., Brichta-Harhay, D.M., Kalchayanand, N., King, D.A., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Koohmaraie, M. 2009. Prevalence and Enumeration of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in U.S. Abattoirs That Process Fewer Than 1,000 Head of Cattle Per Day. Journal of Food Protection. 72(6):1272-1278.

Interpretive Summary: Small beef processing plants that harvest less than 1000 cattle per day produce a significant portion of the U.S. beef supply. However there is little information available about E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in these processing plants. These data are needed for these plants to establish benchmark numbers to compare themselves to, as well as by policy makers. To address this lack of data, hides and carcasses of cattle at seven small processing plants located across the U.S. were analyzed for the prevalence and amount of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. Results showed that there was significant plant-to-plant variation in both the levels and prevalence of pathogens on hides and carcasses before microbial interventions were applied. Reduced levels of pathogens on carcasses were noted among small processors that had incorporated a hide-directed intervention. The results observed in the small processing plants are comparable to those previously observed in larger processors, showing that smaller beef processors face and address the same challenges as larger beef processors.

Technical Abstract: A significant portion of the U.S. beef supply is produced in beef processing plants that harvest less than 1000 cattle per day. However there is little data on the prevalence and levels of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in these processing plants. To address this lack of data, hides (n=1995) and carcasses (n=1995) of cattle at seven small processing plants located across the U.S. were analyzed for E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. Across all plants, hide prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella was 71% and 91%, respectively. Twelve percent of hides had E. coli O157:H7 at enumerable levels (=40 CFU/100 cm2), while 36% of hides had Salmonella at enumerable levels. Across all plants, the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 on pre-evisceration carcasses was 33%, with 2% at an enumerable level (=0.8 CFU/100 cm2). Across all plants, Salmonella prevalence on pre-evisceration carcasses was 58%, with 8% at an enumerable level. Significant plant-to-plant variations in levels and prevalence of pathogens on carcasses were detected. Reduced levels of pathogens on carcasses were noted among small processors that had incorporated a hide-directed antimicrobial intervention. The results obtained are comparable to those observed for larger processors, showing that smaller beef processors face and address the same challenges as larger beef processors.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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