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Effect of Incubation Temperature on Aerobic Plate Counts of Beef and Sheep Carcasses

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Australian regulations for microbiological testing of carcasses specify a number of incubation temperatures and media for meat processed at both domestic and export establishments. Accordingly, the effect of incubation temperature and media on aerobic plate counts of samples from beef and sheep carcasses was investigated. For both species, aerobic plate counts on Petrifilm incubated at 35°C were significantly lower than those counts on Petrifilm and pour plates incubated at 25 and 30°C, reflecting the inability of many psychrotrophs to grow at 35°C. When samples were taken from carcasses that had been stored in abattoir chillers for periods between 16 h and 5 days, difference between counts at 35°C versus those incubated at 25 and 30°C became greater as the period of refrigerated storage increased. For export beef carcasses, the effect of this difference is minimal, since the vast majority of counts incubated at 35°C are done on carcasses that have been chilled for less than 24 h and will not have a large proportion of psychrotrophs.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 54, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 7001 2: Meat and Livestock Australia, Locked Bag 991, North Sydney, Australia 2059

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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