September 14, 1998

Thomas J. Billy, Administrator

Food Safety and Inspection Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washington, DC 20250

Re: Request for Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis Information

Dear Mr. Billy:

Thank you for your letter of September 4, 1998, which contains information regarding Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) test results from E. coli O157:H7 sampling. It is important for NMA members and laboratories which they use to understand the most up to date sampling and test procedures used by government agencies.

In this connection, could you please furnish me with any documents concerning this laboratory procedure, including information from both FSIS laboratories and any other government laboratories where PFGE tests described in your September 4 letter were conducted. If necessary, please treat this request as being made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. '552:

1. The agency's PFGE analysis laboratory procedures used on E. coli O157:H7, including the enzymes used to split off DNA chains.

2. Any internal or external reviews or validation of the above procedure, including checks for negative and positive controls.

3. Any scientific literature or other sources used by FSIS to support the validity of the procedures.

4. All PFGE analysis results, but with any information which would identify individuals or companies removed.

5. the agency's procedures for determining whether there is a single common source and in notifying FSIS officials, other government agencies (federal or state) and establishments when there has been a single common source.

Thank you for your assistance. Your prompt response to this request is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions regarding this request, please contact me.


Rosemary Mucklow,

Executive Director

National Meat Association