Risk Assessment of E. coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef
FSIS inspection in the public health impact of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef
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Metadata Updated: April 24, 2018

Executive Summary

The Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) conducted a farm-to-table risk assessment to evaluate the public health impact from Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef. This risk assessment was initiated in response to the identification of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle, on carcasses, and in ground beef, as well as heightened public awareness of the association of E. coli O157:H7 with foodborne outbreaks that have resulted in severe illness and death. The purpose of this risk assessment is to systematically evaluate and integrate available scientific data and information to • provide a comprehensive evaluation of the risk of illness from E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef based on currently available data, • estimate the likelihood of human morbidity and mortality associated with specific numbers of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef servings, • estimate the occurrence and extent of E. coli O157:H7 contamination at points along the farm-to-table continuum, • provide a tool for analyzing how to most effectively mitigate the risk of illness from E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef (one that is useful for Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point applications), • identify future food safety research needs, and • assist FSIS in the review and refinement of its integrated risk reduction strategy for E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.