FSIS is expanding its routine verification testing for six non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) to ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components (e.g., cheek meat) to further protect public health. The six non-O157 STEC are O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 and are considered adulterants under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). Currently, FSIS analyzes all ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components for E. coli O157:H7, but only tests its beef manufacturing trimmings samples for the six non-O157 STEC.
FSIS also intends to test for the non-O157 STEC in ground beef samples that it already collects at retail stores and in applicable samples it already collects of imported raw beef products. Samples of ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components already collected at official establishments would also be tested for the six non-O157 STEC. FSIS estimates that benefits of the new testing will be reduced foodborne illnesses and deaths, as well as reduced outbreak-related recalls.
FSIS is requesting comments on the proposed sampling and testing for ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components. Interested persons must submit comments on this notice by August 3, 2020. Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking portal, available at http://www.regulations.gov; by mail sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, D.C., 20250-3700. All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the agency name and docket number FSIS-2010-0023.