Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 79, No. 3, 2016, Pages 421–431 doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-368.


U.S. government work.


The primary objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and level of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 (collectively EHEC-6) plus EHEC O157 in fecal, hide, and preintervention carcass surface samples from culled dairy cows. Matched samples (n=300) were collected from 100 cows at harvest and tested by a culture-based method and two molecular methods: NeoSEEK STEC (NS) and Atlas STEC EG2 Combo. Both the culture and NS methods can be used to discriminate among the seven EHEC types (EHEC-7), from which the cumulative prevalence was inferred, whereas the Atlas method can discriminate only between EHEC O157 and non-O157 EHEC, without discrimination of the serogroup. The EHEC-7 prevalence in feces, hides, and carcass surfaces was 6.5, 15.6, and 1.0%, respectively, with the culture method and 25.9, 64.9, and 7.0%, respectively, with the NS method. With the Atlas method, the prevalence of non-O157 EHEC was 29.1, 38.3, and 28.0% and that of EHEC O157 was 29.1, 57.0, and 3.0% for feces, hides, and carcasses, respectively. Only two samples (a hide sample and a fecal sample) originating from different cows contained quantifiable EHEC. In both samples, the isolates were identified as EHEC O157, with 4.7 CFU/1,000 cm2 in the hide sample and 3.9 log CFU/g in the fecal sample. Moderate agreement was found between culture and NS results for detection of EHEC O26 (k=0.58, P