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Treatments Using Hot Water Instead of Lactic Acid Reduce Levels of Aerobic Bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae and Reduce the Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on Preevisceration Beef Carcasses

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Abstract:

Lactic acid has become the most commonly used organic acid for treatment of postevisceration beef carcasses. Many processors have also implemented 2% lactic acid washes on preevisceration carcasses. We previously demonstrated that hot water washing and steam vacuuming are effective carcass interventions. Because of the effectiveness of hot water, we compared its use with that of lactic acid as a preevisceration wash in a commercial setting. A commercial hot water carcass wash cabinet applying 74°C (165°F) water for 5.5 s reduced both aerobic plate counts and Enterobacteriaceae counts by 2.7 log CFU/100 cm2 on preevisceration carcasses. A commercial lactic acid spray cabinet that applied 2% L-lactic acid at approximately 42°C (105 to 110°F) to preevisceration carcasses reduced aerobic plate counts by 1.6 log CFU/100 cm2 and Enterobacteriaceae counts by 1.0 log CFU/100 cm2. When the two cabinets were in use sequentially, i.e., hot water followed by lactic acid, aerobic plate counts were reduced by 2.2 log CFU/100 cm2 and Enterobacteriaceae counts were reduced by 2.5 log CFU/100 cm2. Hot water treatments reduced Escherichia coli O157:H7 prevalence by 81%, and lactic acid treatments reduced E. coli O157:H7 prevalence by 35%, but the two treatments in combination produced a 79% reduction in E. coli O157:H7, a result that was no better than that achieved with hot water alone. These results suggest that hot water would be more beneficial than lactic acid for decontamination of preevisceration beef carcasses.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Natural Resource Institute, Building 201, BARC-East, 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, USA 3: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933-0166, USA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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