This study focused on important factors related to the potential of cattle and beef products to transmit Helicobacter pylori to humans. Mucosal samples were collected from the rumen and abomasum of 105 cattle and were plated on a selective medium to isolate Helicobacter spp.; none of the samples examined contained these bacteria. Studies were also conducted to determine how long H. pylori survives in refrigerated or frozen ground beef; results indicated that the microorganism dies rapidly in ground beef, whether refrigerated or frozen. Packaging in vacuum or air had little effect on survival of the organism. The number of H. pylori decreased in refrigerated samples from 3.3 log10 CFU/g on day 0 to 1.4 log10 CFU/g on day 6. H. pylori died even more rapidly when frozen, decreasing from 3.3 log10 CFU/g on day 0 to 0.5 log10 CFU/g on day 6. Retail beef cuts (n = 20) were also examined for the presence of H. pylori by direct plating on a selective medium and by incubation in an enriched broth followed by plating on a selective medium. None of the retail samples contained H. pylori. This research suggests that transmission of H. pylori from beef and beef products is not a primary factor in the high prevalence of this bacterium in humans.

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