CCA Statement on E.coli O157:H7

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is pleased to provide the public with general information on E.coli O157:H7 along with a reminder of the important role of safe food handling in reducing exposure to this common pathogen.

E.coli O157:H7 can be present in raw meat, poultry, unpasteurized milk and fruit juices, raw greens and vegetables, and water contaminated with human or animal waste. The thorough cooking of ground meats kills the pathogen and is an important line of defence in safeguarding human health.

The CCA is committed to food safety research. The Beef Cattle Research Council, a division of the CCA, has and continues to fund research into methods of managing, controlling and potentially eliminating potentially harmful organisms (such as E.coli O157:H7) from beef. Additionally, research is being performed around the world to understand how E.coli O157.H7 can be most effectively reduced.

Canadian meat processors have in place internationally recognized systems known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) plans to control E.coli O157:H7 and other foodborne bacteria. These plans identify potential food safety hazards and monitor the most important production steps (critical points) to ensure these hazards are controlled before the product is sent to market.

Ground beef remains a safe and healthy product when proper food handling procedures are followed. Consumers can safeguard their health through proper hygiene, effective food preparation and thorough cooking of ground meats. Consumers should remember to:
• Cook meat to a safe internal temperature. For ground beef it is 71C/160F.
• Wash hands before and after handling food and frequently while cooking, especially after handling raw meat and poultry.
• Avoid cross contamination of food by washing utensils, plates and cutting boards that have come into contact with raw meat and poultry, in hot, soapy water.
• Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before you prepare and eat them.
• Refrigerate or freeze foods promptly.

For more information, please visit:
Canada Beef Inc. http://www.canadianbeef.info/pdf/producer/Ecoli%20Factsheet%2021%20Sept%202011.pdf
Canada Beef’s Blog (http://canadianbeefinfo.wordpress.com/) and http://www.befoodsafe.ca/en-home.asp)

CFIA’s latest information on the E. Coli O157:H7 in Various Ground Beef Products:
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-investigations/xl-foods/eng/1347937722467/1347937818275