Main content area

Detection and Quantification of Seven Major Serogroups of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli on Hides of Cull Dairy, Cull Beef, and Fed Beef Cattle at Slaughter

Noll, Lance W., Shridhar, Pragathi B., Ives, Samuel E., Cha, Elva, Nagaraja, T. G., Renter, David G.
Journal of food protection 2018 v.81 no.8 pp. 1236-1244
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, beef, beef cattle, data analysis, genes, immunomagnetic separation, polymerase chain reaction, serotypes, slaughter, virulence
Dehiding during beef cattle processing can introduce fecal contaminants, including Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC), from hides onto carcass surfaces, creating the potential for contaminated beef. Fecal shedding of major STEC serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157; STEC-7) may differ among cattle populations, yet no study has been conducted to isolate STEC-7 on hides of multiple cattle types on the same production days at the same processing plant. Our objective was to estimate and compare prevalence and concentrations of STEC-7 on hides of cull dairy, cull beef, and fed beef cattle from the same date and processing plant. Overall, 1,500 cattle hides were sponge sampled from cull dairy (n = 500), cull beef (n = 500) and fed beef cattle (n = 500) over 10 processing days. To determine prevalence, samples were subjected to an immunomagnetic separation culture method, and presumptive STEC isolates were tested by PCR for serogroup and major virulence genes. A spiral plate method was used to enumerate STEC-7 from hide samples. Data were analyzed with linear mixed models. All STEC-7 serogroups except O121 were detected and quantified on cattle hides in this study population. Slightly more fed beef hides (77 of 500; 15.4%) and cull beef hides (76 of 500; 15.2%) were positive for at least one STEC-7 strain compared with cull dairy hides (57 of 500; 11.4%), but cattle type was not significantly associated (P = 0.19) with STEC-7 prevalence. Fed beef hides had a significantly higher prevalence (P < 0.05) of STEC O103, O145, and O157 serogroups than did either of the other cattle types. The highest proportions of quantifiable samples were for STEC O145 (32 of 1,500 samples; 2.1%) and O157 (31 of 1,500 samples; 2.1%) serogroups, with the majority of concentrations at 3 to 5 and 2 to 4 log CFU/100 cm2 of hide, respectively. Results indicate that hide contamination with some major STEC serogroups differs significantly among cattle types at harvest, even within the same day and location.