Category Archives: STEC

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – Raw Milk Cheese


RASFF -shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (presence /25g) in raw milk cheese from France in Germany

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – E.coli O157 – Raw Milk Cheese


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O157:H7 stx+ eae+) in raw milk cheese from France in France

RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in raw milk cheese from France in Germany

Scotland – Scottish cheesemakers challenge guidance on raw milk in their products

Food Safety News

Five Scottish companies have launched a fundraising campaign for legal fees to challenge new inspection and enforcement guidance, including food safety measures, regarding raw milk cheese.

The guidance will effectively make production in Scotland unviable, according to the cheesemakers who specialise raw milk cheese.

It is focused on controlling microbiological risks in the production of artisan cheeses made from raw, unpasteurized milk such as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) including E. coli O157 and applies to all sites producing cheese made from unpasteurized milk from cows, goats, sheep and buffalo.

The document was produced by a working group of the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC) and is to be used during inspection and enforcement of food safety controls by cheesemakers making product from unpasteurised milk.

Selina Cairns from Errington Cheese told Food Safety News that to satisfy the cheesemakers the guidance needs to be removed or re-written in consultation with industry and individual cheesemakers.

Scotland – Food Standards Scotland issues warning over Shiga-toxi E.coli bug

Herald Scotland

FOOD safety inspectors have warned that even trace amounts of an E. coli bacteria can post a danger to human health.

The updated guidance from Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has been published today following a joint report by the World Health Organisation and United Nations which urged vigilance in relation to Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

Professor Norval Strachan, Independent Chief Scientific Adviser for FSS, said: “STEC, or Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli, are a group of different types of E. coli bacteria found in the guts of animals such as cattle and sheep, which can make their way into the food chain via the animals’ faeces.

USA – FDA Report on E. Coli O157 Outbreak in Romaine Lettuce Points to “Significant” Finding of Strain in Sediment of Water Reservoir

Food Safety Tech 

The November 2018 outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce caused 62 illnesses across 16 states. The FDA zeroed in on the Central Coast growing regions of northern and Central California as being responsible for the contamination. The outbreak was declared over on January 9 and yesterday FDA released the report, “Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Romaine Lettuce Implicated in the Fall 2018 Multi-State Outbreak of E.Coli O157:H7”, which provides an overview of the investigation.

The report states that a sediment sample coming from an on-farm water reservoir in Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County, California) tested positive for the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Although this particular farm was identified in several legs of the Fall 2018 traceback investigations that occurred in the United States and Canada, as well as being a possible supplier of romaine lettuce in the 2017 traceback investigations, the FDA said that the farm is not the single source of the outbreak, as there is “insufficient evidence”. The traceback suggests that the contaminated lettuce could have come from several farms, because not all tracebacks led to the farm on which the contaminated sediment was found.


Research – Season and Species: Two Possible Hurdles for Reducing the Food Safety Risk of Escherichia coli O157 Contamination of Leafy Vegetables

Food Protection Eurofins Food Testing UK

The food safety risk of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection per serving of leafy vegetables was investigated using a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) approach. The estimated level of E. coli O157 contamination was based on observed numbers of Enterobacteriaceae and E. coli on leafy vegetables grown and processed in southern Sweden from 2014 to 2016. Samples were collected before harvest, after washing, and at the end of shelf life. The observed counts were combined with data on the ratio of E. coli to E. coli O157 taken from earlier studies to estimate the probability of illness. The risks of STEC infection associated with species, either spinach (Spinacia oleracea) or rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia), growing season (spring or autumn), and washing (washed or not washed) were then evaluated. The results indicated that leafy vegetable species and growing season could be possible hurdles for reducing the food safety risk of STEC infection. At harvest, the probability of infection was 87% lower when consuming rocket compared with spinach and 90% lower when consuming leafy vegetables grown in spring compared with autumn. These relative risk reductions remained consistent even with other serving sizes and dose-response models. The lowest risk of STEC infection was associated with leafy vegetables early in the production chain, i.e., before harvest, while the risk increased during storage and processing. Consequently, the highest risk was observed when leafy vegetables were consumed at the end of shelf life. Washing had no effect on the food safety risk of STEC infection in this study. To improve the quality of QMRA, there is a need for additional data on the relationship between indicator organisms that can be easily enumerated (e.g., E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae) and E. coli strains that can cause STEC infection (e.g., E. coli O157) but are difficult to identify in food samples such as leafy vegetables.

UK – Scotland – Microbiological survey of minced beef on sale in Scotland


Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and partners, in collaboration with public analysis laboratories, will conduct a comprehensive survey of the microbiological pathogens STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli), Campylobacter, Salmonella and hygiene indicator organisms (generic E. coli and aerobic colony counts) in minced beef across Scotland. All of the pathogens detected and a subset of 100 isolates of generic E. coli will be tested for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The primary objective of the survey is to generate baseline data on the prevalence of pathogens and hygiene indicator organisms in minced beef on retail sale. A secondary objective is to see if there are any patterns in variation, such as seasonal changes, in order to identify any risk factors associated with microbiological contamination.

The survey will be carried out between January and December 2019 and the results and analysis are due to be published by summer 2020.

Source: Food Standards Scotland, 23 January 2019

Vol: 53 No: 04 Year: 2019 Type: Current Note