Escherichia coli 0157H7

E. coli 0157:H7 emerged as a food pathogen in 1982, and an outbreak was for the first time linked to dry-cured sausages in 1994. E. coli 0157:H7 is more acid tolerant than other E. coli. It survives better at refrigeration temperature than at abuse temperature, and it has a low infectious dose, that is, <50 organisms (37). As a result of the outbreak, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service issued guidelines for sausage manufacturers to validate processes to ensure a 5D-log unit reduction in counts of E. coli 0157:H7 (38). In traditional processes for dry and semidry sausages, E. coli 0157:H7 is reduced by 1 to 2 log units, and investigations have shown that the recommended 5D-log unit reduction can only be obtained by introducing a heating step following the fermentation (39,40). In European-type sausage manufacturing, similar results have been obtained. Thus, depending on inoculum, E. coli 0157:H7 is reduced by 1 to 2 log units during normal processing (41). Subsequent storage results in further reduction, the reduction being more pronounced at ambient than at chill storage temperatures.

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