Microbiological testing results of boneless and ground beef purchased for the U.S. National school lunch program, school years 2015 to 2018

Scott L. Vial, Darin R. Doerscher, Craig W. Hedberg, William A. Stone, Stephen J. Whisenant, Carl M. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases beef for the National School Lunch Program and other federal nutrition assistance programs. For beef that will be delivered to food service facilities raw, each ca. 900-kg lot of boneless beef raw material and each ca. 4,500-kg sublot of resultant ground beef is tested for standard plate count (SPC) organisms, coliforms, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7. In addition, 1 of every 10 lots of boneless beef, randomly selected, is tested for E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. For beef that will be cooked using a validated lethality step at a federally inspected establishment before delivery, each lot of boneless beef and each sublot of ground beef is tested for SPC organisms, coliforms, and E. coli only. Any lot or sublot exceeding predefined critical limits (CLs) of 100,000 CFU g-1 for SPC organisms, 1,000 CFU g-1 for coliforms, or 500 CFU g-1 for E. coli or for beef containing Salmonella or any of previously mentioned E. coli serotypes is rejected for purchase. For school years 2015 through 2018 (July 2014 through June 2018), 220,497,254 kg of boneless beef and 189,347,318 kg of ground beef were produced for AMS. For boneless beef, 133 (0.06%), 164 (0.07%), and 106 (0.04%) of 240,488 lots exceeded CLs for SPC organisms, coliforms, and E. coli, respectively; 2,038 (1.30%) and 116 (0.07%) of 156,671 lots were positive for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, respectively; and 59 (0.36%) of 16,515 lots were positive for non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing E. coli. For ground beef, 46 (0.10%), 27 (0.06%), and 19 (0.04%) of 45,769 sublots exceeded CLs for SPC organisms, coliforms, and E. coli, respectively; and 329 (1.40%) and 18 (0.08%) of 23,475 sublots were positive for Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, respectively. All lots and sublots found to exceed indicator organism CLs or to contain pathogens were identified, rejected for purchase, and diverted from federal nutrition assistance programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1761-1768
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of food protection
Volume82
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the vendors that produced the beef described in this report; staff at ADLs and at the FSIS Eastern Laboratory for sample analysis; staff at the CDC for providing data from the NORS; J. Mark Carter, Kari Godbey Houchens, Stephen W. Mamber, Ken Melton, and Angie Siemens for comments during manuscript preparation; and Bruce Alexander, Jeff Bender, Rod Bowling, Mohammed Atif Jalal, Terry Lutz, and Scott Wells for technical support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Association for Food Protection. All rights reserved.

Copyright:
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Beef
  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Salmonella

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