Peri- and Postharvest Factors in the Control of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli in Beef. Academic Article uri icon


  • Certain Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are important causes of food-borne disease, with hemorrhagic colitis and, in some cases, hemolytic-uremic syndrome as the clinical manifestations of illness. Six serogroups and one serotype of STEC (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157:H7) are responsible for the vast majority of cases in the United States. Based on recent data for all food commodities combined, 55.3% and 50.0% of the outbreaks of STEC O157 and non-O157 in the United States, respectively, are attributable to beef as a food source. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service declared these organisms as adulterants in raw, nonintact beef. In North America, cattle are a major reservoir of STEC strains, with organisms shed in the feces and contaminated hides of the animals being the main vehicle for spread to carcasses at slaughter. A number of peri- and postharvest interventions targeting STEC have been developed, and significant progress has been made in improving the microbiological quality of beef in the past 20 years as a result. However, continued improvements are needed, and accurate assessment of these interventions, especially for non-O157 STEC, would greatly benefit from improvements in detection methods for these organisms.

published proceedings

  • Microbiol Spectr

author list (cited authors)

  • Moxley, R. A., & Acuff, G. R.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Moxley, Rodney A||Acuff, Gary R

editor list (cited editors)

  • Sperandio, V., & Hovde, C. J.

publication date

  • December 2014