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Identification of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Surrogate Organisms To Evaluate Beef Carcass Intervention Treatment Efficacy

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We compared the survival of potential pathogen surrogates—meat-hygiene indicators (non–Escherichia coli coliforms), biotype I E. coli, and lactic acid bacteria starter cultures—with survival of an E. coli O157:H7 (ECO157:H7) inoculum in beef carcass intervention trials. Survival of one lactic acid bacteria starter culture (Bactoferm LHP Dry [Pediococcus acidilactici and Pediococcus pentosaceus]), a five-isolate biotype I inoculum, and a five-isolate non–E. coli coliform inoculum, was compared with survival of a 12-isolate ECO157:H7 inoculum in interventions by using beef brisket (adipose and lean), cod fat membrane, or neck tissue. Treatments were grouped by abattoir size: small (6-day dry aging; 22°C acid treatment [2.5% acetic acid, 2% lactic acid, or Fresh Bloom], followed by 1-day dry aging; hot water) and large (warm acid treatment [5% acetic acid or 2% lactic acid] with or without a preceding hot water treatment). Reductions in pathogen and surrogate inocula were determined with excision sampling. A surrogate was considered a suitable replacement for ECO157:H7 if the intervention produced a reduction in surrogate levels that was not significantly greater (P ≥ 0.05) than that observed for ECO157:H7. All three surrogate inocula were suitable as ECO157 surrogates for dry aging and acid spray plus dry-aging treatments used by small abattoirs. No one inoculum was suitable as an ECO157 surrogate across all intervention treatments used by large abattoirs. Effects seen on neck tissue were representative of other tissues, and the low value of the neck supports its use as the location for evaluating treatment efficacy in in-plant trials. Results support using nonpathogenic surrogate organisms to validate beef carcass intervention efficacy.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1605 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA 2: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1605 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA. 3: Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, 465 Henry Mall, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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