Preevisceration carcass washing prior to bung bagging during beef slaughter may allow pooling of wash water in the rectal area and consequent spread of potential pathogens. The objective of this study was to compare protocols for bung bagging after preevisceration washing with an alternative method for bung bagging before preevisceration washing for the potential to spread enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella on carcass surfaces. The study evaluated incidence rates of pathogens in preevisceration wash water (10 ml) samples (n = 120) and on surface (100 cm2) sponge samples (n = 120) in the immediate bung region when bagging occurred before (prewash bagging) and after (postwash bagging) preevisceration washing. Surface sampling from postwash bagging yielded incidence rates of 58.3, 5, and 8.3%, whereas wash water sampling yielded 28.3, 1.7, and 5% for enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella, respectively. Surface sampling from prewash bagging yielded incidence rates of 35, 1.7, and 0%, whereas wash water sampling yielded 18.3, 0, and 8.3% for enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella, respectively. Results of this research indicate that the rectal area is a significant source of pathogen contamination on carcasses and that wash water is an important mechanism for potential transfer of pathogen contamination from the rectal area. Results from this study suggest that bung bagging, as proposed in this study, before (prewash bagging) rather than after (postwash bagging) preevisceration washing was generally more effective in controlling pathogen contamination and potential spread from the rectal area of carcasses.