1. Determine if various rapid ELISA tests can be used to establish the presence of E. coli O157 in fecal, hide, carcass and ground beef samples at rates comparable to IMS. <P>
2. Validate methods for enumeration of E. coli O157 in the feces of cattle. <P>
3. Develop a highly accurate method of enumerating E. coli O157 at all stages of beef production.
The results of this study indicate that the use of the rapid kits for ground beef is acceptable and has an excellent agreement with the data provided by detecting E. coli O157 using IMS methods (traditional ï¿½ culture method). However, using these kits for detection of E. coli O157 on hides and in the feces of cattle is not acceptable and has a poor agreement with the data we obtain using traditional culture methods (IMS). This is due to the background flora found in feces and hides that is not found in the product at levels that interfere with the test results. Validation of the methods for the particular use is a key factor in getting accurate information and making wise decisions in a process.