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The lack of baseline data on the prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in retail minced beef in France prompted this survey of industrial minced beef production.An automated enzyme-linked fluorescence immunoassay (ELFA), the VIDAS E. coli O157 method, was used to detect E. coli O157 in industrial minced beef samples. Confirmation of samples positive according to the ELFA was performed using an automated immunoconcentration (ICE) system, VIDAS ICE, which allows the selective capture and release of target organisms. The ICE was followed by culture on cefixime tellurite sorbitol MacConkey agar and a chromogenic medium, O157:H7 ID. Of the 3450 minced beef samples tested, 175 samples were positive with the ELFA method and, of these, four were confirmed by the ICE method. They were identified as sorbitol-negative, O157-positive, H7-positive, mobile, verotoxin-producing E. coli.The prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in industrial French minced beef was 0·12%, consistent with many other reports.The low infective dose of E. coli O157:H7 presents a major threat. The main means of combating this organism are thermal destruction and good food hygiene covering activities on-farm, in the abattoir and in minced beef industries.