(Washington, D.C.)-- Continuing its downward trend, E. coli O157:H7 prevalence in ground beef showed a 43.0 percent decline in 2004 compared to 2003, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. With more than 8,000 samples taken in 2004, only 0.17 percent tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 compared to a 0.30 percent incidence rate in 2003. The percentage of E. coli O157:H7 positive ground beef samples has shown a steady downward trend from 0.86 percent in 2000.
“The steady decline in E. coli
O157:H7 is a success story and testament to the
industry’s commitment to continually improve
its food safety programs,” said James Hodges,
president of the American Meat Institute (AMI)
Hodges noted that the
lower prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in ground
beef has also helped reduce foodborne illness
in the United States. Last year, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention showed a 36
percent reduction in illnesses from E. coli
O157:H7 in 2003 compared to 2002. “The
continuing drop of both occurrences of illness
from E. coli, and the prevalence of E. coli,
are part of the pay-off for an all-out effort
by the meat industry to make food safety our
number one priority over the last several
years,” added Hodges.
In 2001, the AMI
Foundation declared that its two priorities
would be to reduce and ultimately eliminate E.
coli O157:H7 on fresh beef products and
Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat
products. “It’s rewarding to see that the
pro-active measures we’re taking in the meat
industry are having direct pay-off for the
American public and consumers of American meat
across the globe,” said Hodges.
2001, AMI member companies declared food safety
a non-competitive issue and began sharing data,
technologies and ideas with one another in an
effort to reduce bacteria and enhance safety.
The industry has invested several million
dollars in research aimed at finding new and
better ways to eliminate bacteria.
E. coli O157:H7 Incidence Drops 43 Percent in 2004Monday, February 28, 2005
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