Microbiological Sampling of Meat Cuts and Manufacturing Beef by Excision or Swabbing

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Groups of 25 beef or pork loin primal cuts or of pieces of stored or not stored manufacturing beef were sampled by excision and by swabbing with cotton wool, sponge, and gauze. Total aerobic counts, coliforms, and Escherichia coli from each sample were enumerated. Values for the mean log10, log10 mean, and/or the log10 total numbers recovered were calculated for each set of 25 bacterial counts. Those statistics indicated that, for product sampled without storage, swabbing with cotton wool or sponge recovered about 30%, and swabbing with gauze recovered about 10% of the bacteria recovered by excision sampling; but that for product sampled after storage, swabbing with cotton wool or sponge recovered about 50% and swabbing with gauze recovered about 15% of the bacteria recovered by excision sampling. However, the incidences of samples positive for coliforms and E. coli were less for stored than for nonstored product with all methods of sampling. The findings indicate that the conditions of meat surfaces, the handling of product, and the state of the microflora might all affect the numbers of bacteria recovered by any sampling technique. Thus, the relationship between the numbers recovered by excision or any selected swabbing technique may differ for different types of noncomminuted, raw meat product.


Document Type: Research Article

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

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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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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