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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety and Quality » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392001

Research Project: Holistic Tactics to Advance the Microbiological Safety and Quality of the Red Meat Continuum

Location: Meat Safety and Quality

Title: A review of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) contamination in the raw pork production chain

item HAQUE, MANIRUL - University Of Nebraska
item Bosilevac, Joseph - Mick
item CHAVES, BRYON - University Of Nebraska

Submitted to: International Journal of Food Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/4/2022
Publication Date: 9/16/2022
Citation: Haque, M., Bosilevac, J.M., Chaves, B.D. 2022. A review of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) contamination in the raw pork production chain. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 377. Article 109832.

Interpretive Summary: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a group of bacteria that can cause severe infections in people. STEC are most commonly associated with cattle and beef products, but there are a growing number of reports of STEC in swine and pork products. We critically analyzed the primary literature reports of STEC in live swine, pork processing, and retail pork from around the globe. STEC are transferred from swine to pork products at different levels, and the STEC found in retail pork pose a low to moderate risk of causing human disease indicating a need proper cooking and prevention of cross contamination.

Technical Abstract: Epidemiological evidence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections associated with the consumption of contaminated pork highlight the need for increased awareness of STEC as an emerging pathogen in the pork supply chain. The objective of this review is to contribute to our understanding of raw pork products as potential carriers of STEC into the food supply. We summarize and critically analyze primary literature reporting the prevalence of STEC in the raw pork production chain. Primary data were retrieved from Scopus, SciELO, and PubMed. The reported prevalence rate of stx-positive E. coli isolates in live swine, slaughtered swine, and retail pork samples around the world ranged from 4.4% (22/500) to 68.3% (82/120), 22% (309/1395) to 86.3% (69/80), and 0.10% (1/1167) to 80% (32/40), respectively, depending upon the sample categories, detection methods, and the hygiene condition of the slaughterhouses and retail markets. In retail pork, serogroup O26 was prevalent in the U.S., Europe, and Africa. Serogroup O121 was only reported in the U.S. Further, serogroup O91 was reported in the U.S., Asia, and South American retail pork samples. The most common virulence gene combination in retail pork around the globe were as follows: the U.S.: serogroup O157+stx, non-O157+stx, unknown serogroups+stx+eae; Europe: unknown serogroups+(stx+eae, stx2+eae, or, stx1+stx2+eae); Asia: O157+stx1+stx2+ehxA, Unknown+stx1+eaeA+ehxA, or only eae; Africa: O157+stx2+eae+ehxA. STEC strains derived from retail pork in the U.S. fall under low to moderate risk categories capable of causing human disease, thus indicating the need for adequate cooking and prevention of cross contamination to minimize infection risk in humans.