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Contamination of Beef Chucks with Escherichia coli during Carcass Breaking

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Samples were obtained by swabbing the whole of the chuck portion on each of the first 500 sides that entered a beef carcass breaking process and the whole of the outer surface of each of the chuck primal cuts that were prepared from those portions. Swabs obtained from groups of 10 sides or cuts that entered or emerged from the process consecutively were combined, and the coliforms and Escherichia coli recovered from each group were enumerated. Coliforms and E. coli were recovered only sporadically from groups of sides at log total numbers of 4.0 and 3.5 log CFU/500 sides, respectively. Coliforms were recovered from three and E. coli from none of the first six groups of cuts. Coliforms and E. coli were recovered from all subsequent groups of cuts, initially at log numbers mostly <3 log CFU/10 cuts, but ultimately at log numbers mostly > 3 log CFU/10 cuts. The log total numbers of coliforms and E. coli recovered from cuts were > 6.0 and 5.5 log CFU/500 cuts, respectively. After the breaking of about 600 sides, samples were obtained by swabbing a table onto which the part of the side that included the chuck portion was deposited after it was cut from the hanging side, and the belt that was used for conveying chucks. The numbers of coliforms and E. coli recovered from the table and conveyor belt were comparable with the numbers recovered from sides and cuts, respectively. Those findings show that most of the coliforms and E. coli recovered from the cuts were not present on carcass sides but that they originated largely from the cut conveying equipment.


Document Type: Research Article

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

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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