USDA delays added E coli tests

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The Department of Agriculture is delaying new tests in beef for six serogroups of Escherichia coli.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service announced in February that the agency would delay until June 4 routine sampling of beef trimmings and other ground beef components for the presence of shiga toxin–producing E coli O26, O45, O103, O121, and O145. Testing was previously scheduled to begin March 5.

The delay is intended to give industry time to validate their own test methods and detection abilities related to the pathogens, the FSIS announcement states. The agency had announced in September 2011 that, as with E coli O157:H7, bacteria from the six serogroups would be considered adulterants, and food containing the bacteria could not be sold for food (see JAVMA, Jan. 15, 2012).