Evaluation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Translocation and Decontamination for Beef Vacuum-packaged Subprimals Destined for Non-intact Use

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Lemmons, Jacob Lynn
E. coli O157:H7; translocation; decontamination; beef; non-intact
thesis / dissertation description
The translocation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 as well as the impact of water washing and partial or complete surface trimming as possible pathogen reduction strategies were evaluated for vacuum-packaged beef subprimals destined for non-intact use. Cap-on and cap-off beef top sirloin butts were inoculated with two levels of E. coli O157:H7! a high-inoculum at approximately 10^4 CFU/cm^2 and a low-inoculum at approximately 10^2 CFU/cm^2. Following inoculation, the subprimals were vacuum packaged and stored for either 0, 14, or 28 days. Upon opening, the following sites were evaluated: exterior of the bag, purge, the inoculation site on the subprimal, the area adjacent to the inoculation site, and the surface opposite from the inoculation site. The following treatments then were applied: water wash, water wash followed by full-surface trimming, water wash followed by partial-surface trimming, full-surface trimming, full-surface trimming followed by water wash, partial-surface trimming, and partial-surface trimming followed by water wash. For both high and low inoculated top sirloin butts, contamination of adjacent and opposite surfaces was found after vacuum packaging. Of the treatments applied, water washing alone and partial-surface trimming were the least effective for both high and low inoculated subprimals. Full trimming, with or without a water wash, proved to be the most effective treatment used to reduce E. coli O157:H7 to non-detectable levels.