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A Rapid Microbiological Method for Enumerating Escherichia coli from Broiler Chicken Carcasses

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Experiments were conducted to evaluate a rapid method for enumerating Escherichia coli from broiler chicken carcasses. In three separate trials, carcasses were obtained from a commercial processing plant, temperature abused at 37°C for 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 h, and then rinsed. E. coli were enumerated from carcass rinses using Petrifilm E. coli count plates (PC) and by placing the rinse into double-strength colifiform medium supplemented with 2% dextrose (CMD). The CMD mixture was placed into a Bactometer module and conductance was measured at 44°C. Once a detection time (DT) was recorded, the sample was immediately recovered from the module well, diluted, and spread onto plate count agar. Colonies on plates at the highest dilution from each module well were randomly selected and identified. After 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 h of temperature abuse, E. coli was the bacterial species identified 97, 92, 88, 87, and 61% of the time, respectively. These results indicate that the medium/temperature combination was excellent for enumerating E. coli from samples that contain mixed microflora using conductance. Significant linear correlations were observed between time of abuse (TA) and log10 PC (LPC) or DT (R 2 = 0.86 and R 2 = −0.90, respectively). A significant linear correlation was observed between LPC and DT (R 2 = −0.92). This rapid method (1 to 7.6 h) for enumeration of E. coli on chicken should provide a way to determine E. coli levels before a product is shipped, and it should aid the poultry industry in meeting the E. coli testing requirement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service pathogen reduction regulation.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Poultry Science, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2772, USA

Publication date: October 1, 1998

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