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Transfer Coefficient Models for Escherichia coli O157:H7 on Contacts between Beef Tissue and High-Density Polyethylene Surfaces

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Risk studies have identified cross-contamination during beef fabrication as a knowledge gap, particularly as to how and at what levels Escherichia coli O157:H7 transfers among meat and cutting board (or equipment) surfaces. The objectives of this study were to determine and model transfer coefficients (TCs) between E. coli O157:H7 on beef tissue and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cutting board surfaces. Four different transfer scenarios were evaluated: (i) HDPE board to agar, (ii) beef tissue to agar, (iii) HDPE board to beef tissue to agar, and (iv) beef tissue to HDPE board to agar. Also, the following factors were studied for each transfer scenario: two HDPE surface roughness levels (rough and smooth), two beef tissues (fat and fascia), and two conditions of the initial beef tissue inoculation with E. coli O157:H7 (wet and dry surfaces), for a total of 24 treatments. The TCs were calculated as a function of the plated inoculum and of the cells recovered from the first contact. When the treatments were compared, all of the variables evaluated interacted significantly in determining the TC. An overall TC-per-treatment model did not adequately represent the reduction of the cells on the original surface after each contact and the interaction of the factors studied. However, an exponential model was developed that explained the experimental data for all treatments and represented the recontamination of the surfaces with E. coli O157:H7. The parameters for the exponential model for cross-contamination with E. coli O157:H7 between beef tissue and HDPE surfaces were determined, allowing for the use of the resulting model in quantitative microbial risk assessment.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Crop Conversion Science and Engineering Research Unit, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA 2: Microbial Food Safety Research Unit, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA 3: North Atlantic Area, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA 4: Microbial Biophysics and Residue Chemistry and Core Technologies Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, 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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