Ground Beef Handling and Cooking Practices in Restaurants in Eight States
ABSTRACT Eating in table-service restaurants has been implicated as a risk factor for Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection. To explore this association and learn about the prevalence of risky ground beef preparation practices in restaurants, the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) assessed ground beef handling policies and practices in restaurants in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee. Eligible restaurants prepared and served hamburgers. EHS-Net specialists interviewed a restaurant employee with authority over the kitchen (defined as the manager) using a standard questionnaire about food safety policies, hamburger preparation policies, and use of irradiated ground beef. Interviews were followed by observations of ground beef preparation. Data from 385 restaurants were analyzed: 67% of the restaurants were independently owned and 33% were chain restaurants; 75% of the restaurants were sit down, 19% were quick service or fast food, and 6% were cafeteria or buffet restaurants. Eighty-one percent of restaurants reported determining doneness of hamburgers by one or more subjective measures, and 49% reported that they never measure the final cook temperatures of hamburgers. At least two risky ground beef handling practices were observed in 53% of restaurants. Only 1% of restaurants reported purchasing irradiated ground beef, and 29% were unfamiliar with irradiated ground beef. Differences in risky ground beef handling policies and practices were noted for type of restaurant ownership (independently owned versus chain) and type of food service style (sit down versus quick service or fast food). This study revealed the pervasiveness of risky ground beef handling policies and practices in restaurants and the need for educational campaigns targeting food workers and managers. These results highlight the importance of continued efforts to reduce the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.
Journal of food protection 12/2013; 76(12):2124-5. DOI:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-13-270 · 1.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We analyze the risk of contracting illness due to the consumption in the United States of hamburgers contaminated with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) of serogroup O157 produced from manufacturing beef imported from Australia. We have used a novel approach for estimating risk by using the prevalence and concentration estimates of E. coli O157 in lots of beef that were withdrawn from the export chain following detection of the pathogen. For the purpose of the present assessment an assumption was that no product is removed from the supply chain following testing. This, together with a number of additional conservative assumptions, leads to an overestimation of E. coli O157-associated illness attributable to the consumption of ground beef patties manufactured only from Australian beef. We predict 49.6 illnesses (95%: 0.0–148.6) from the 2.46 billion hamburgers made from 155,000 t of Australian manufacturing beef exported to the United States in 2012. All these illness were due to undercooking in the home and less than one illness is predicted from consumption of hamburgers cooked to a temperature of 68 °C in quick-service restaurants.Risk Analysis 06/2014; 35(1). DOI:10.1111/risa.12248 · 1.97 Impact Factor