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Gas Formation in Ground Beef Chubs Due to Hafnia alvei Is Reduced by Multiple Applications of Antimicrobial Interventions to Artificially Inoculated Beef Trim Stock

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Gas-forming microorganisms were isolated from gas-swollen ground beef chubs obtained from a commercial source and were phenotypically identified as Hafnia alvei. In in situ experiments, the isolated H. alvei strains produced gas in inoculated irradiation-sterilized ground beef chubs. A five-strain cocktail of H. alvei isolates was inoculated on beef trim. The inoculated beef trim samples were treated with either a water wash (W) at 65 psi for five passes (a pass refers to the application of successive multiple antimicrobial treatments to inoculated beef trim on a moving processing conveyor belt at a speed of 1cm/s under heat ducts or oscillating spray nozzles), W plus a 2% (vol/vol) lactic acid wash (L) at room temperature at 30 psi for three passes (W/L), or a combination treatment (COMB) consisting of W plus 82°C water for three passes plus 510°C hot air for six passes plus L, or were not treated (control). After treatment, the beef trim was ground and vacuum packaged. The numbers of H. alvei were reduced with water alone and with the aforementioned antimicrobial intervention treatments. For the untreated and inoculated control samples, the numbers of H. alvei increased from 7.03 to 8.40 log CFU/g after 7 days of incubation at 4°C. However, the numbers of H. alvei treated by successive antimicrobial interventions (COMB) were initially reduced to 5.25 log CFU/g and increased to just 6.9 log CFU/g after 7 days of incubation at 4°C. Gas was produced in untreated control samples after 3 days at 15°C (15 of 15 inoculated chubs). However, in meat treated with W, W/L, and COMB, gas was produced after 4 to 5, 7 to 8, and 9 to 10 days of storage at 15°C, respectively. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of multiple antimicrobial interventions in reducing H. alvei numbers on beef trim and subsequently delaying gas formation in the resulting ground beef chubs.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, P.O. Box 166, Spur 18D, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, P.O. Box 166, Spur 18D, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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