USDA releases first results from new STEC testing program

E. coli

Three out of 110 samples tested positive for strains of E. coli since a new testing program took effect in June.

The samples were taken during routine testing and were tested for seven strains of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, or STECs, including E. coli O157:H7, and the non- O157 strains O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Routine testing for the six non-O157 strains began June 4, and requires raw beef trim to be tested for all seven strains. Under the new rules, the six strains joined E. coli O157:H7 as being classified as adulterants, meaning the products containing them are to be considered unfit for human consumption.

The positive samples represented three non-O157 strains: O26, O103 and O145, according to the USDA.

So far this year, the USDA has tested approximately 7,000 plants for E. coli O157:H7, which causes most E. coli-related illnesses, according to year-to-date totals from the USDA.

Earlier this summer, an outbreak of E. coli O145 sickened 15 people and led to the death of a 21-month-old Louisiana child. So far, a cause has not been identified.

To view the full report, click here.

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