The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently announced its intention to prohibit six serogroups of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in addition to E. coli O157:H7. According to FSIS, the agency plans to begin testing for the additional STEC on March 5, 2012, at which time those six strains will be deemed adulterants and barred from commerce under the Federal Meat Inspection Act if detected in raw ground beef, its components or tenderized steak.

“As a result of today’s action, if the E. coli serogroups O26, O103, O45, O111, O121 and O145 are found in raw ground beef or its precursors, those products will be prohibited from entering commerce,” stated a September 13, 2011, USDA press release, which also solicits comments on the policy change for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.