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Assessment of the Microbiological Conditions of Tails, Tongues, and Head Meats at Two Beef-Packing Plants

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Abstract:

Newly skinned tails of beef carcasses at two packing plants were similarly contaminated with total aerobes and with coliforms that were largely Escherichia coli at log mean numbers about 3.5/cm2 and 4.5/100 cm2, respectively. The log mean numbers of aerobes and coliforms on the skinned tails after washing at plant A were, respectively, 1 and 2 log units less than the numbers on the newly skinned tails. At plant B, the log mean numbers of aerobes on skinned and on washed tails were similar while the log mean numbers of E. coli on washed tails were only about 1 log unit less than the numbers on skinned tails. Cooling of tails on racks in a chiller at plant B reduced the log mean numbers of E. coli by about 1 log unit but did not reduce the numbers of total aerobes. Tongues in the heads of carcasses at both plants were similarly contaminated with total aerobes and with coliforms that were largely E. coli at log mean numbers of about 4.5/cm2 and 4.5/100 cm2, respectively. The log mean numbers of aerobes on and the log total number of E. coli recovered from washed tongues were, respectively, about 2 and 4 log units less than for unwashed tongues at plant A and about 1 and 3 log units less than for unwashed tongues at plant B. The log mean numbers of aerobes and E. coli on washed cheeks and lips were both about 2 log units less than the numbers on unwashed tongues at both plants. With appropriate collection and washing procedures, the microbiological conditions of beef tails, tongues, and head meats can apparently be comparable to those of primal cuts and manufacturing beef at the times that the products are packed.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Centre, 6000 C&E Trail, Lacombe, Alberta T4L 1W1, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 1999

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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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