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Food safety study of beef 'trim' leads to ongoing research collaboration
Date:4/5/2011

This release is available in Spanish.

Burgers, meat loaf and other lean ground beef favorites may be made from "trim," the meat that's left over after steaks and roasts have been carved from a side of beef. A study conducted several years ago to ensure that imported beef trim is safe to eat has led to an ongoing collaboration between U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists who conducted the research and colleagues from Uruguay, which exports this in-demand beef.

Microbiologist Joseph M. (Mick) Bosilevac with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and his colleagues examined 1,186 samples of beef trim from the United States and from Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay, three nations that provide more than half of America's beef imports. The research had been requested because questions had been raised as to whether America's procedures for monitoring the safety of imported beef trim were adequate for detecting pathogens such as Escherichia coli in trim.

One concern was that foodborne pathogens and their reported incidence aren't necessarily the same from one part of the world to the next. For example, while E. coli O157:H7 is the leading species, or serotype, in severe E. coli-associated foodborne illness in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere other toxin-producing E. coli serotypes such as O111 have also been associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness, according to Bosilevac. He works at the ARS Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center, Neb.

The researchers looked for contaminants such as Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, and near relatives of E. coli O157:H7 that can cause severe foodborne illness.

Results indicated that the pathogen-monitoring procedures used in the United State
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Contact: Marcia Wood
marcia.wood@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1662
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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