RESTON, Va. – The Food Safety and Inspection Service announced on Feb. 8 it is extending the implementation date for routine sampling of six additional STEC serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145) for 90 days, according to the North American Meat Processors Association. The date was extended from March 5 to June 4.

NAMP relayed the extension was granted to give extra time to establishments so they could validate their test methods and detect these pathogens prior to entering the commerce stream.

Initially, FSIS plans to sample raw beef manufacturing trimmings and other raw ground beef product components both imported and produced domestically, plus test the serogroups’ samples.

USDA announced on Sept. 13, 2011, that if the serogroups are discovered in raw ground beef or its precursors, these products cannot enter commerce. The policy represents a major advancement for public health, NAMP said.

As soon as it becomes available, an advance copy of an updated Federal Register notice will be posted on FSIS’ website.