Comparison of the Microbial Quality of Ground Beef and Ground Beef Patties from Internet and Local Retail Markets

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This study evaluated the microbial quality of ground beef and ground beef patties sold at local (Virginia) and Internet (U.S.) retail markets. A total of 152 ground beef products, consisting of locally purchased raw ground beef (LRG) and frozen beef patties (LFP) and Internet-procured frozen ground beef (IFG) and frozen beef patties (IFP), were tested. Results showed that LFP had significantly lower levels of aerobic mesophiles, psychrotrophs, and coliforms than LRG, IFG, and IFP. Furthermore, IFG had greater numbers of Escherichia coli than LRG and LFP. No sample was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, but one duplicate set of summer LFP samples contained Salmonella. Listeria spp. were present in 25 and 29% of samples from local and Internet markets, respectively. About 5.0, 11.1, 10.5, and 7.9% of LRG, LFP, IFG, and IFP samples were contaminated with L. monocytogenes. This study identified differences in microbial quality between local and Internet products. Careful handling and thorough cooking of ground beef products, regardless of market source, are recommended to prevent foodborne illness.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Virginia State University, Agricultural Research Station, P.O. Box 9061, Petersburg, Virginia, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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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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