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Comparison of Water Wash, Trimming, and Combined Hot Water and Lactic Acid Treatments for Reducing Bacteria of Fecal Origin on Beef Carcasses

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Cleaning treatments, such as high-pressure water wash at 35°C or trim, alone and combined with sanitizing treatments, such as hot water (95°C at the source), warm (55°C) 2% lactic acid spray, and combinations of these two sanitizing methods, were compared for their effectiveness in reducing inoculated numbers (5.0 to 6.0 log CFU/cm2) of Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, aerobic plate counts, Enterobacteriaceae, total coliforms, thermotolerant coliforms, and generic E. coli on hot beef carcass surface areas in a model carcass spray cabinet. Log reductions in numbers of all tested organisms by water wash or trim alone were significantly smaller than the log reductions obtained by the different combined treatments. Regardless of the cleaning treatment (water wash or trim) or surface area, the range for mean log reductions by hot water was from 4.0 to >4.8 log CFU/cm2, by lactic acid spray was from 4.6 to >4.9 log CFU/cm2, by hot water followed by lactic acid spray was from 4.5 to >4.9 log CFU/cm2, and by lactic acid spray followed by hot water was from 4.4 to >4.6 log CFU/cm2, for S. typhimurium and E. coli O157:H7. Identical reductions were obtained for thermotolerant coliforms and generic E. coli. No differences in bacterial reductions were observed for different carcass surface regions. Water wash and trim treatments caused spreading of the contamination to other areas of the carcass surface while providing an overall reduction in fecal or pathogenic contamination on carcass surface areas. This relocated contamination after either water wash or trim was most effectively reduced by following with hot water and then lactic acid spray. This combined treatment yielded 0% positive samples for S. typhimurium, E. coli O157:H7, thermotolerant coliforms, and generic E. coli on areas outside the inoculated areas, whereas percent positive samples after applying other combined treatments ranged from 22 to 44% for S. typhimurium, 0 to 44% for E. coli O157:H7, and 11 to 33% for both thermoto1erant coliforms and generic E. coli. From data collected in this study, it is possible to choose an effective, inexpensive treatment to reduce bacterial contamination on beef carcasses. In addition, the similar reduction rates of total coliforms, thermotolerant coliforms, or generic E. coli may be useful in identifying an indicator to verify the effectiveness of the selected treatment as a critical control point in a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point program.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Food Science and Engineering, Center for Food Safety, Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2471, USA

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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