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J Food Prot. 2012 Dec;75(12):2110-5. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-077.

Salmonella and Campylobacter baseline in retail ground beef and whole-muscle cuts purchased during 2010 in the United States.

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  • 1International Center for Food Industry Excellence, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.


Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter spp. cause a considerable number of human illnesses each year, and the vast majority of cases are foodborne. The purpose of this study was to establish the baseline of Salmonella and Campylobacter in beef products purchased from U.S. retail markets. Sampling was carried out in 38 American cities. Retail raw ground and whole-muscle beef (n = 2,885) samples were purchased and examined for the presence of Salmonella. Samples testing positive for Salmonella were identified with the commercial BAX System, which is a real-time PCR-based system. Of the original samples purchased, 1,185 were selected and tested for the presence of Campylobacter. Positive samples were isolated via direct plating and confirmed via agglutination and biochemical testing. Salmonella was detected in 0.66% of the total samples purchased. The prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef packages was 0.42% for modified atmosphere packaging, 0.63% for chub packaging, and 0.59% for overwrapped packages. Salmonella was detected in 1.02% of whole-muscle cuts. There was no relationship (P = 0.18) between product type (ground or whole muscle) and the percentage of positive samples. Campylobacter was recovered from 9.3% of samples. A greater percentage (17.24%, P < 0.01) of whole-muscle cuts tested positive for Campylobacter compared with ground beef samples (7.35%). Estimating pathogen baselines in U.S. retail beef is essential for allotting resources and directing interventions for pathogen control. These data can be utilized for a more complete understanding of these pathogens and their impact on public health from the consumption of beef products.

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