General Policies

General Policies

  1. Non-Washington samples will be assessed a 50% surcharge except where indicated.
  2. A FAX, mail, or electronic report is provided at no charge.
  3. Samples sent for analysis to outside labs are billed for any additional direct costs incurred plus a handling fee (includes postage) is $20.00.
  4. Fees are subject to change without notice. Current fees are located on the Tests & Fees webpage.
  5. "STAT" fee - Please contact laboratory in advance to arrange scheduling and fees.

Non-O157 STEC Testing at AHFSL

Because of the public health concern regarding the non-O157 Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroups, FSIS has declared six additional E. coli strains (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) as adulterants in food ( This regulation places these non-O157 STEC strains in the same regulatory category as the much-feared E. coli O157:H7. Declaring a substance to be anadulterant means that it cannot legally be distributed in food, and therefore food processors can legally be held accountable for products that contain it.

Starting on June 4, 2012, beef manufacturing trimmings are required to be tested for these bacteria. At this time, the rule applies only to raw ground beef and in the scraps or “trim” that are collected in processing plants, under the MT60, M52, and MT53 sampling programs, to be made into ground beef. The rule does not apply to components of ground beef, such as cheek meat, head meat, or other components described in FSIS Directive 10,010.1.

The Avian Health and Food Safety laboratory now offers a Real-Time STEC assay for the rapid screening of the virulence genes present in STEC serotypes. Furthermore, if a positive sample is detected, we will analyze for the presence or absence of the O group. Contact the lab at 253-445-4537 or email  for a quote.