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Identification of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Meat Processing Indicators for Fresh Meat through Comparison of the Effects of Selected Antimicrobial Interventions

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Fresh meat products can become contaminated with the pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the slaughter process; therefore, an E. coli O157:H7 indicator to verify the effectiveness of process controls in slaughter establishments would be extremely useful. The hides of 20 beef cattle were sampled, and 113 bacterial isolates were obtained. Thirteen of these isolates representing four genera, Escherichia, Enterobacter, Providencia, and Serratia, were selected based on growth and biochemical characteristics similar to those of five clinical strains of E. coli O157:H7. The temperature sensitivity was determined for the individual isolates and the five E. coli O157:H7 strains at 55 and 65°C. D 65-values for all 13 isolates were not significantly different from D 65-values of the E. coli O157:H7 strains. E. coli isolates were the only isolates whose D 55-values were not significantly different from those of the E. coli O157:H7 strains. E. coli isolates P3 and P68 were more resistant to the effects of 55°C than were the other E. coli isolates but were not significantly different from E. coli O157:H7 WS 3331 (P > 0.05). The remaining E. coli isolates (P1, P8, and P14) were not significantly different from E. coli O157:H7 strains ATCC 35150, ATCC 43894, ATCC 43895, and WS 3062 (P > 0.05). Prerigor lean and adipose beef carcass tissue was artificially contaminated with stationary-phase cultures of the five E. coli beef cattle isolates or a cocktail of five E. coli O157:H7 strains in a fecal inoculum. Each tissue sample was processed with the following microbial interventions: 90°C water; 90°C water followed by 55°C 2% lactic acid; 90°C water followed by 20°C 2% lactic acid; 20°C water followed by 20°C 2% lactic acid; 20°C water followed by 20°C 20 ppm chlorine; and 20°C water followed by 20°C 10% trisodium phosphate. The appropriateness of the E. coli isolates as potential E. coli O157:H7 indicators was dependent upon the microbial intervention utilized. For all microbial intervention methods applied irrespective of tissue type, the mean log reductions of at least two E. coli isolates were not significantly different from the mean log reduction of the E. coli O157:H7 cocktail (P > 0.05). Because of the frequent employment of multiple microbial interventions in the cattle industry, no single isolate can realistically represent the effectiveness of all microbial interventions for reduction of E. coli O157:H7. Thus, the use of a combination of E. coli isolates may be required to accurately predict the effectiveness of microbial intervention methods on the reduction of E. coli O157:H7 in beef carcass tissue.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science, Food Safety Research Laboratory, 215F Meat Lab, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA 2: Department of Animal Science, 2471 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2471, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) 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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