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Validation of Time and Temperature Values as Critical Limits for Salmonella and Background Flora Growth during the Production of Fresh Ground and Boneless Pork Products

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To provide pork processors with valuable data to validate the critical limits set for temperature during pork fabrication and grinding, a study was conducted to determine the growth of Salmonella serotypes and background flora at various temperatures. Growth of Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis and of background flora was monitored in ground pork and boneless pork chops held at various temperatures to determine growth patterns. Case-ready modified atmosphere packaged ground pork and fresh whole pork loins were obtained locally. Boneless chops and ground pork were inoculated with a cocktail mixture of streptomycin-resistant Salmonella to facilitate recovery in the presence of background flora. Samples were held at 4.4, 7.2C, and 10°C and at room temperature (22.2 to 23.3°C) to mimic typical processing and holding temperatures observed in pork processing environments. Salmonella counts were determined at regular intervals over 12 and 72 h for both room and refrigeration temperatures. No significant growth of Salmonella (P < 0.05) was observed in boneless pork chops held at refrigeration temperatures. However, Salmonella in boneless pork chops held at room temperature had grown significantly by 8 h. Salmonella grew at faster rates in ground pork. Significant growth was observed at 6, 24, and 72 h when samples were held at room temperature, 10°C, and 7.2°C, respectively. No significant growth was observed at 4.4°C. Background flora in ground pork samples increased significantly after 10 h at room temperature and after 12 h for samples held at 10 and 7.2°C. Background flora in samples held at refrigeration temperatures did not increase until 72 h. Background flora in the boneless chops increased significantly after 6 h at room temperature and after 24 h when held at 10 and 4.4°C. These results illustrate that meat processors can utilize a variety of time and temperature combinations as critical limits to minimize Salmonella growth during production and storage of raw pork products.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 42141, Lubbock, Texas 79409, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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