Food Safety: Help to manage E. coli risk
Food Safety

Help to manage E. coli risk

Carsten Jünger /

ITALY, Rome. Two UN bodies have initiated a global call to solicit data in order to help them provide scientific advice to guide the development of appropriate Codex standards or guidelines on pathogenic E. coli.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) work together on a microbiological risk assessment project (JEMRA).

In terms of pathogenic E. coli verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) and shigatoxigenic E. coli (STEC), the agencies said they want to address questions related to food at tribution, identification and characterization of serovars of concern and approaches for monitoring.

The UN bodies said international feedback from the feed and food chain, policymakers, academia and other stakeholders is critical to ensure the information documents developed and advice provided reflects the global situation to the extent possible. The deadline for data submission is 17 June 2016.

VTEC/STEC has been implicated in outbreaks of human disease via the cross-contamination of foods and direct contact with the feces of affected animals. The global incidence of such pathogenic E. coli related disease has been estimated to be 2,801,000 acute illnesses, 3,890 cases of HUS, 270 cases of permanent ESRD, and 230 deaths annually.

Although many animal species, including pigs, horses and wild rabbits have tested positive for VTEC, colonized ruminants, especially cattle, are the major known reservoir and efforts to control excretion in these species are most likely to be beneficial.

There is a continuous risk for contamination of feed by microbial pathogens throughout the production chain up to feed, with the many opportunities for contamination making it difficult to control or fully eliminate specific pathogens, found the summary report of the joint FAO/WHO expert meeting on hazards associated with animal feed, in May last year in Rome.


Source: WHO, FAO


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