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J Food Prot. 2001 Jan;64(1):63-71.

Development of a multiple-step process for the microbial decontamination of beef trim.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933, USA.


A multiple-hurdle antimicrobial process for beef trim was developed. The microbial profiles of inoculated lean beef trim tissue (BTL) and fat-covered lean beef trim (BTF) were monitored during prolonged refrigerated storage following the application of successive multiple antimicrobial treatments applied to inoculated beef trim on a processing conveyor belt set at a belt speed of 1 cm/s. Beef trim (meat size approximately 15 by 15 cm) was preinoculated with bovine feces before all treatments that included the following: control, no treatment; water wash at 65 psi for five passes; water plus lactic acid (2% [vol/vol] room temperature lactic acid wash at 30 psi for three passes); combination treatment 1 (water plus 65 degrees C hot water at 30 psi for one pass plus hot air at 510 degrees C for four passes plus lactic acid), combination treatment 2 (water plus hot water at 82 degrees C for one pass plus hot air at 510 degrees C for five passes plus lactic acid), and combination treatment 3 (water plus hot water at 82 degrees C for three passes plus hot air at 510 degrees C for six passes plus lactic acid). The effects of treatments on bacterial populations were monitored by enumerating mesophilic aerobic bacteria (APC), presumptive lactic acid bacteria (PLAB), psychrotrophic bacteria (PCT), coliforms, and Escherichia coli biotype 1 on product stored for up to 7 days at 4 degrees C. In the case of BTL, the numbers of APC, PCT, and PLAB increased during storage at 5 degrees C, whereas the numbers of coliform and E. coli decreased on average by 1.8 log CFU/cm2, then remained constant following the initial reduction. Negligible effects on color quality were observed from multihurdle treatment combination 1. In the case of the BTF, the microbial reductions by treatments were much greater than the reduction on BTL. The pH of treated BTF increased more slowly than the pH of treated BTL, resulting in further reduction of the microflora on BTF. Except for control and water treatments, all sample treatments involving lactic acid resulted in continuously decreasing microbial populations. Based on microbial reduction and quality aspects, it was concluded that successively applied combination antimicrobial treatments for meat trim could offer potential food safety benefits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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