Alternative Indicator Bacteria Analyses for Evaluating the Sanitary Condition of Beef Carcasses

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Sponge samples were obtained from 47 (study 1) and 32 (study 2) beef carcasses in a small plant over 6 months. In study 2, slaughter equipment surfaces were also sampled. In study 1, the Petrifilm method was used to count presumptive Escherichia coli and spread plating on kanamycin esculin azide (KEA) agar with and without 40% added bile was used to count presumptive Enterococcus spp. Qualitative testing for presumptive E. coli and Enterococcus spp. in study 1 was done using lauryl sulfate tryptone broth (LST) + 4-methylumbelliferyl-β-D-glucuronide (MUG) and KEA + 40% bile broth, respectively. In study 2, LST + MUG was used as a most probable number (MPN) method along with the Petrifilm method. In the two studies, 8 (17.0%) and 11 (34.4%) carcasses were contaminated with presumptive E. coli; all but one contaminated carcass contained < 1 CFU/cm2. Presumptive Enterococcus spp. were recovered from 15 carcasses (31.9%) in study 1, but the KEA + 40% bile agar method lacked specificity (only 31.3% of isolates confirmed as Enterococcus spp.) The LST + MUG and Petrifilm methods were significantly (P , 0.05) related in terms of detecting presumptive E. coli, but the presence of presumptive Enterococcus spp. was not significantly related to the presence of presumptive E. coli. However, on slaughter plant equipment in Study 2 there was a statistically significant (P < 0.05) relationship between the presence of presumptive E. coli and presumptive Enterococcus spp. In study 2, there was no significant (P < 0.05) difference in numbers of presumptive E. coli (obtained using Petrifilm) on carcasses chilled 1 day (n = 16) and 7 days (n = 16), although more of the 7-day carcasses were contaminated (five and seven carcasses, respectively). For samples testing positive for presumptive E. coli, the 95% confidence intervals obtained using the LST + MUG MPN method included the Petrifilm value for all but one sample.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1605 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1565, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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