New federal data show that E. coli O157:H7 is found in less than one quarter of one percent of ground beef samples, a 72 percent decline since 2000 in ground beef samples testing positive for the pathogen.
The data are from Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 2010 year end results of microbiological samples for raw ground beef products analyzed for E. coli O157:H7. In 2010, there were 29 positive samples out of 11,616 taken in federal plants, no positives of 905 samples taken in retail stores and one positive out of 29 imported samples. The overall prevalence rate was 0.24 percent.
“The new data tell us that our food safety strategies have been working to improve the safety of the U.S. beef supply,” said James H. Hodges, American Meat Institute Foundation president. “We are gratified with the progress the industry has made over the past decade, but we must remain vigilant and sustain our focus on food safety research to make our food supply even safer.”
The year end data is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Ecoli_O157_Summary_Tables/index.asp.