Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Indicator Organisms on the Surface of Intact Subprimal Beef Cuts Prior to Further Processing

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The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7, other E. coli strains, total coliforms, and aerobic organisms on the surface of subprimal beef cuts prior to enhancement. Subprimal cuts were sampled during winter (January and February 2004) and summer (August through October 2004). During each collection period, six representative subprimal cuts (chuck tenders, 0.64-cm trimmed strips, bottom round flat, rough-trimmed brisket, cap-on top rounds, and cap-off insides) were sampled. A total of 600 samples in winter (100 samples per cut) and 599 samples in summer (100 chuck tenders, 100 0.64-cm trimmed strips, 100 bottom round flats, 100 cap-off insides, 97 rough-trimmed briskets, and 102 cap-on top rounds) were collected from five plants in the Midwest, southern Midwest, northern Midwest, and Southeast and swabbed using the sponge swab method. All sponges were analyzed for E. coli O157:H7. In addition, 400 subprimal cuts from four plants were analyzed for aerobic plate counts, total coliforms, and other E. coli strains during each collection period. E. coli O157:H7 was not detected on any of the 1,199 subprimal samples; thus, incidence of E. coli O157:H7 was <0.083%. Seasonal differences between aerobic plate counts and total coliform counts for each of the same cuts were 1.0 log CFU per cut or less. E. coli strains were not detected in 82, 52, 69, and 82% of the chuck tenders, 0.64-cm trimmed strips, bottom round flats, and cap-off insides, respectively.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ABC Research Corporation, 3437 S.W. 34th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32607, USA 2: Department of Animal Sciences, P.O. Box 110910, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0910, USA 3: Cargill Meat Solutions, 2901 North Mead, Wichita, Kansas 67219, USA 4: Hormel Foods Corp., 2 Hormel Place, Austin, Minnesota 55912-4935, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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