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Carcass Mapping to Determine E. coli O157:H7 Distribution on Beef Carcasses


In recent years the number of Escherichia coli O157 recalls in the beef industry had declined. However, in 2007 the number of recalls due to E. coli O157 increased and research is needed to determine how the contamination is getting into the ground products and how to control it. Three slaughter plants in geographically distinct areas of the U.S. were sampled using a sterile hydrated spongecicle for each season over the course of a year. A total of four sampling locations on the carcass, which were foreshanks, hindshanks, inside round and midline, were sampled as well as the hides. Each carcass sampling location was sampled at three different locations in the plant, pre-evisceration, before interventions and after interventions. All samples were analyzed to detect and quantify the amount of E. coli O157 on the carcass and hide locations.

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Findings: From these results we can see that regardless of the location in the plant, the inside round, midline and hindshank are more prevalent to contamination. Identifying patterns of contamination in processing plants will enable the implementation of interventions that target high contamination areas to result in further reduction of the pathogen in the beef supply.
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Brashears, Mindy
Texas Tech University
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