<ol> <li>To conduct a comprehensive survey of the beef slaughter industry to determine what decontamination procedures are currently used, including specific operating parameters as well as validation and verification procedures.
<li>Isolate and characterize an extensive library of E. coli O157:H7 isolates and potential indicator or surrogate bacteria to be used in validation and verification of decontamination procedures.
<li>Collect parallel kill data for decontamination procedures using E. coli O157:H7 and selected indicator bacteria.
<li>Utilize collaborating commercial slaughter facilities to test the ability to use indicator bacteria to verify decontamination procedures.
<li>Develop course materials for incorporation of specific validation and verification procedures into existing university lecture and laboratory courses on food microbiology, meat science, and HACCP.
<li>Develop industry-appropriate outreach workshop materials also designed for presentation by interactive CD and distance education web-based instruction, including an interactive web site with capability for anonymous discussion postings from industry participants concerning data, questions, and procedures.</ol>
Extension specialists, scientists, and classroom educators will implement a stepwise process beginning with a survey to determine industry decontamination procedures and parameters currently in use. Cattle at the same facilities will be sampled for the presence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and possible indicator bacteria, and extensive characterization of bacteria will occur to determine if appropriate non-pathogenic indicator organisms exist. Laboratory testing of decontamination procedures will be conducted according to industry parameters, and verification of pathogen reduction will be tested in the laboratory followed by implementation in the industry. Educational materials, including an interactive CD, will be developed using all personnel involved in this project to be included in formal university courses and industry-appropriate workshops.