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Fecal Bacteria Found In 300 From 300 Samples Of Purchased Beef

In the past year, the US population purchased 4.6 billion pounds of beef to take home and turn into burgers or to use as mince in cooking. This large figure reflects Americans’ love affair with red meat.


A new warning in relation to meat has come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, around one third of meat is not cooked properly, and such under-cooking increases the risk of infection. This is due to the types of bacteria found in association with red meat, many of which are pathogenic and of fecal origin.


The presence of fecal bacteria derives from the practices of abattoirs and the condition of cattle prior to their slaughter. As an example of the risk, the CDC reports: “Between 2003 and 2012, there were almost 80 outbreaks of E. coli O157 due to tainted beef, sickening 1,144 people, putting 316 in the hospital, and killing five.”


Moreover, in July 2015 some ground beef and steak destined for restaurants and food-service retailers was recalled, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, due to risks associated with the same bacterium.
  1. coli (Escherichia coli) 0157 is a bacterium associated with fecal matter. The primary route of infection is through consuming contaminated food. Infection may lead to hemorrhagic diarrhea, as well as to kidney failure
In a recent studyConsumer Reports purchased 300 individual packages of ground beef from 26 US cities. Scientists examined the samples for five types of bacteria regularly found on beef. These were: Clostridium perfringensE. coli,EnterococcusSalmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus.


Each of the samples, totaling 458 pounds of beef, was found to contain bacteria that potentially signaled fecal contamination (such as Enterococcus and E. coli). The results emphasize the importance of cooking meat thoroughly as well as call for meat processing centers to review hygiene practices.
About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.