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Verification of the Hygienic Adequacy of Beef Carcass Cooling Processes by Microbiological Culture and the Temperature-Function Integration Technique

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To enhance food safety and keeping quality, beef carcasses are cooled immediately after leaving the slaughter floor. Within hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems, this cooling process needs to be monitored by the industry and verified by regulatory agencies. This study assessed the usefulness of the temperature-function integration technique (TFIT) for the verification of the hygienic adequacy of two cooling processes for beef carcasses at one abattoir. The cooling process passes carcasses through a spray cooler for at least 17 h and a holding cooler for at least 7 h. The TFIT is faster and cheaper than culture methods. For spray cooler 1, the Escherichia coli generations predicted by TFIT for carcass surfaces (pelvic and shank sites) were compared to estimated E. coli counts from 120 surface excision samples (rump, brisket, and sacrum; 5 by 5 by 0.2 cm) before and after cooling. Counts of aerobic bacteria, coliforms, and E. coli were decreased after spray cooler 1 (P ≤ 0.001). The number of E. coli generations (with lag) at the pelvic site calculated by TFIT averaged 0.85 ± 0.19 and 0.15 ± 0.04 after emerging from spray coolers 1 and 2, respectively. The TFIT (with lag) was considered convenient and appropriate for the inspection service to verify HACCP systems for carcass cooling processes.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Health Canada, Health Protection Branch, Animal Diseases Research Institute, P.O. Box 640, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J 3Z4 2: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Alberta Region, 220-4 Avenue Southeast, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 4X3 3: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch, Agriculture Centre, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J 4B1

Publication date: October 1, 1998

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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