Posted August 29, 2013

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced changes to its procedures for Salmonellaverification sampling program of raw beef products and requested comments on the new rule. 
According to the Federal Register notice, available here, FSIS will begin analyzing all raw beef samples that it collects for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli(STEC) analysis for Salmonella as well.  To be consistent with the Agency’s STEC analytic sample portions, FSIS laboratories will increase the raw ground beef analytic sample portion from 25 grams to 325 grams for the Salmonella analysis.  These changes will “likely improve FSIS’s ability to detect Salmonella by increasing the sample portion for Salmonellaanalysis and increasing the number of establishments being sampled at any given time.”  After collecting “at least three months of data” with the new sampling and testing procedures, FSIS plans to develop and revise Salmonellaperformance standards for the new sample sets.
Sam Robinson of the Midwest Center for InvestigativeReporting, reported on the problem of Salmonellain beef in an article as part of a “Cracks in the System” series, available here.  Robinson reports that scientists have “realized they may have misidentified the source of Salmonella in beef cattle.  They now realize it may be in the lymphatic system of cattle, making it harder to prevent than E. coli.” 
James Mardsen, professor of animal science at Kansas State University and writer for the blog,, says that Salmonella is the biggest challenge facing the beef industry.  Mardsen noted that incidences of E. coli “have dropped sharply over the past 10 years, but Salmonella isn’t dropping, which is perplexing.” In addition, “some strains of Salmonella that have been observed in beef are drug resistant strains, so they pose a public health problem.” 
The results of the Texas Tech study are available here.  A recent report on “rapid detection” methods for Salmonella in bovine lymph nodes is available here.