with the estimated number of cases attributed to ground beef and the estimated number of servings contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Dose and response information from an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 due to contaminated ground beef is then compared with the derived function to “validate” it (that is, demonstrate that it generated results consistent with an actual event).


The Risk Characterization Module of the FSIS draft model estimates the risk and severity of illness from the consumption of a single serving of E. coli O157:H7-contaminated ground beef. They are calculated for different populations (from individuals to entire communities), exposures (single, per year, or during a lifetime), and population variability (season, age, and where the meal was prepared). To make those estimates, the model combines outputs from the Exposure Assessment and Hazard Characterization modules.

A risk characterization can be used to help to identify the steps in a process that have the greatest influence on the final output and thus highlight where interventions may be most effective. When the risk assessment is final, such analyses will assist FSIS in the review and refinement of its integrated risk-reduction strategy for E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.


Elder RO, Keen JE, Siragusa GR, Barkocy-Gallagher GA, Koohmaraie M, Laegreid WW. 2000. Correlation of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157 prevalence in feces, hides, and carcasses of beef cattle during processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97(7):2999–3003.

FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service). 1994. Nationwide Beef Microbiological Baseline Data Collection Program: Steers and heifers—October, 1992–September, 1993.

Kause J. 2001. SAS Analysis of the 1994–1996, 1998 CSFII for Consumption of Ground Beef by Age and Location for the E. coli O157:H7 Risk Assessment. Informational memorandum to Wayne Schlosser through Carol Maczka, Director, Risk Assessment Branch, Office of Public Health and Sciences, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, Washington, DC.

USDA-FSIS (US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service). 2001. Draft Risk Assessment of the Public Health Impact of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef. September 7, 2001. [Draft report Appendix C dated October 9, 2001; Appendix D undated but released October 31, 2001.]

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