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Effects of Vacuum or Modified Atmosphere Packaging in Combination with Irradiation for Control of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef Patties

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The efficacy of controlling Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef patties by combining irradiation with vacuum packaging or modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) was investigated. Fresh ground beef patties were inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of E. coli O157:H7 at 5 log CFU/g. Single patties, packaged with vacuum or high-CO2 MAP (99.6% CO2 plus 0.4% CO), were irradiated at 0 (control), 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 kGy. The D 10-value for this pathogen was 0.47 ± 0.02 kGy in vacuum and 0.50 ± 0.02 kGy in MAP packaging. Irradiation with 1.5 kGy reduced E. coli O157:H7 by 3.0 to 3.3 log, while 0.5 and 1.0 kGy achieved reductions of 0.7 to 1.0, and 2.0 to 2.2 log, respectively. After irradiation, the numbers of survivors of this pathogen on beef patties in refrigerated storage (4°C) did not change significantly for 6 weeks. Temperature abuse (at 25°C) resulted in growth in vacuum-packaged patties treated with 0.5 and 1.5 kGy, but no growth in MAP packages. This study demonstrated that combining irradiation with MAP was similar in effectiveness to irradiation with vacuum packaging for control of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef patties during refrigerated storage. However, high-CO2 MAP appeared to be more effective after temperature abuse.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Johnsonville Sausage, L.L.C., N6927 Johnsonville Way, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin 53085, USA 2: Department of Animal Science, 215 Meat Laboratory, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA 3: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, 2312 Food Science Building, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA 4: Pfizer, Inc., 2248 Darbytown Road, Richmond, Virginia 23231, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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