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Alternative Cutting Methods To Minimize Transfer of Nervous System Tissue during Steak Preparation from Bone-in Short Loins

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Fresh beef products, such as steaks, may become contaminated with potential specified risk materials (SRMs), such as central nervous system tissue, during the fabrication of bone-in loin subprimals. The objective of this study was to evaluate current and alternative cutting methods that could be used to minimize the transfer of nervous system tissue (NST) tissue during preparation of steaks from bone-in short loins. Bone-in short loins were cut according to three methods. (i) Cutting method I—The vertebral column bones were removed prior to cutting the loin into steaks from the medial (vertebral column) to lateral (flank) side. (ii) Cutting method II—The loin was cut into steaks from the vertebral column side to the flank side prior to removal of the vertebral column bones. (iii) Cutting method III—The loin was cut into steaks from the flank side to the vertebral column side prior to removal of the vertebral column bones. Results indicated that surface areas along the vertebral column cutting line had detectable (0.10 and 0.22% NST/100 cm2) and, thus, higher potential SRM contamination than resulting steak surfaces or the cutting blade. Overall, there were no detectable (>0.10% NST/100 cm2) differences in NST contamination of steaks produced by the three cutting methods. Immunohistochemical evaluation of areas on excised and ground steak surfaces indicated that regardless of cutting method, there was generally "no" to "moderate" staining, suggesting that detectable (0.137 to 0.201% NST) contamination from these samples was most likely due to peripheral nerve detection. These results imply that steaks may be cut from bone-in short loins prior to removal of the vertebral column bones without affecting the transfer of NST to resulting steaks at concentrations >0.10% NST/100 cm2.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Environmental Health, Inc., 15300 Bothell Way N. E., Seattle, Washington 98155, 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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