A total of 213 samples of various types of raw refrigerated ground beef from 51 different retail stores in Ontario were analyzed for their microbial content. Mesophilic and psychrotrophic counts on 64% of the samples were in excess of 10 million per gram. All samples yielded staphylococci with 98% containing >1000 organisms per gram. Coagulase-positive staphylococci were isolated from 17% of the samples. Enterococcus counts ranged from <10 to 10,000 per gram. About 95% of the samples had coliform counts in excess of 100 per gram and counts in individual samples varied from <10 to 100,000 per gram. Salmonellae were not isolated.

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