Major study to put mince under the microscope
An extensive three-year research project aims to determine the prevalence of bacteria such as “E. coli” and “Salmonella” in mince.
The first survey of fresh beef mince for sale in Scotland will study 1,000 samples from retail outlets across the country.
The project team hope this will identify any possible seasonal or geographical patterns associated with microbial contamination.
It will also provide estimates of the prevalence of hygiene indicator bacteria and the presence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The project will be led by scientists from SRUC’s Epidemiology Research Unit in Inverness and will involve three Scientific Services Laboratories, two Scottish microbiological reference laboratories, as well as input from the Food-Borne Pathogens Group at the University of Aberdeen.
Dr. Marianne James from Food Standards Scotland said: “The results of this survey will help provide evidence on the microbiological quality of mince on retail sale in Scotland. We will be able to use this information to help businesses and consumers control these risks.
Any contamination of mince shouldn’t, however, present a risk to consumers as long as it hygienically handled and cooked thoroughly.
The sampling programme will take place between January and December 2019, with a report due to be published next year.