Investigation of Water Washes Suitable for Very Small Meat Plants To Reduce Pathogens on Beef Surfaces

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Abstract:

Water washing with a handheld hose was performed on beef surfaces to ascertain the most effective combination of methods needed to remove potentially harmful microorganisms. For these experiments, beef brisket surfaces were experimentally inoculated with a fecal slurry containing Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Campylobacter coli, and Campylobacter jejuni. In a pilot study, surfaces were washed with cold water (15°C) at various water pressures, spray distances, application times, and drip times, and remaining bacterial populations were determined following the enumeration and isolation of pathogens and naturally occurring hygiene indicators (mesophilic aerobic bacteria, coliforms, and E. coli). The most efficacious combinations of these washing conditions were applied subsequently to artificially contaminated beef brisket surfaces in conjunction with hot (77°C), warm (54°C), and additional cold (15°C) water washes. In the cold water washing pilot study, combinations of physical washing conditions significantly reduced all bacterial populations (P < 0.05). Further studies clearly indicated the superior bactericidal effectiveness of hot water washing; E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium were reduced by 3.8 and 4.1 log CFU/cm2, respectively. Overall, higher water temperature, longer application times, and shorter spray distances more effectively removed pathogens from inoculated beef surfaces. These findings will be used to formulate water washing recommendations for very small meat processing establishments.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, 202 Food Science Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA; AEGIS Food Testing Laboratories, Inc., 224 North Derby Lane, North Sioux City, SD 57409, USA 2: Department of Dairy and Animal Science, 324 Henning Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA 3: Department of Food Science, 202 Food Science Building 4: Department of Entomology, 501 Agricultural Sciences and Industry Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA 5: Department of Food Science, 202 Food Science Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA;, Email: cnc3@psu.edu

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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