Validation of Time and Temperature Values as Critical Limits for the Control of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the Production of Fresh Ground Beef

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In order to provide beef processors with valuable data to validate critical limits set for temperature during grinding, a study was conducted to determine Escherichia coli O157:H7 growth at various temperatures in raw ground beef. Fresh ground beef samples were inoculated with a cocktail mixture of streptomycin-resistant E. coli O157:H7 to facilitate recovery in the presence of background flora. Samples were held at 4.4, 7.2, and 10°C, and at room temperature (22.2 to 23.3°C) to mimic typical processing and holding temperatures observed in meat processing environments. E. coli O157:H7 counts were determined by direct plating onto tryptic soy agar with streptomycin (1,000 μg/ml), at 2-h intervals over 12 h for samples held at room temperature. Samples held under refrigeration temperatures were sampled at 4, 8, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h. Less than one log of E. coli O157:H7 growth was observed at 48 h for samples held at 10°C. Samples held at 4.4 and 7.2°C showed less than one log of E. coli O157:H7 growth at 72 h. Samples held at room temperature showed no significant increase in E. coli O157:H7 counts for the first 6 h, but increased significantly afterwards. These results illustrate that meat processors can utilize a variety of time and temperature combinations as critical limits in their hazard analysis critical control point plans to minimize E. coli O157:H7 growth during the production and storage of ground beef.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 42141, Lubbock, Texas 79409, USA

Publication date: August 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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