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Development and Evaluation of an On-Line Hide Decontamination Procedure for Use in a Commercial Beef Processing Plant

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The hides of cattle are the source of Escherichia coli O157:H7 that contaminates beef carcasses during commercial beef processing. Therefore, effective interventions that reduce hide contamination should reduce subsequent carcass contamination. The first objective of this study was to identify the most effective reagents for decontamination of beef hides. Cattle hides draped over barrels were used for in vitro experiments to compare the efficacy of washes using 1.6% sodium hydroxide, 4% trisodium phosphate, 4% chlorofoam, or 4% phosphoric acid, each followed by a rinse step using either water or acidified (pH 7.0) chlorine at 200 or 500 ppm. All treatments using a water rinse reduced hide coliform counts by 1.5 to 2.5 log CFU/100 cm2. Compared with water rinses, 200 and 500 ppm acidified chlorine rinses increased efficacy by approximately 1.0 and 2.0 log CFU/100 cm2, respectively. Vacuuming of the treated areas to remove excess liquid improved hide cleanliness by an average of an additional 1.0 log CFU/100 cm2. The second objective was to evaluate the use of an on-line hide-wash cabinet that used a sodium hydroxide wash and a chlorinated (1 ppm) water rinse. Hides sampled before entering and after exiting the cabinet had aerobic plate counts and Enterobacteriaceae counts that were reduced by 2.1 and 3.4 log CFU/100 cm2, respectively, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 on hides was reduced from 44 to 17% when the cabinet was in use. Preevisceration carcass aerobic plate counts and Enterobacteriaceae counts were both reduced by 0.8 log CFU/100 cm2, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 on preevisceration carcasses was reduced from 17 to 2% when the cabinet was in use. These results support decontamination of hides as an effective means to reduce pathogen contamination of cattle carcasses during processing.

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 2: Excel Corporation, 151 North Main Street, Wichita, Kansas 67202, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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