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Evaluating Lethality of Beef Roast Cooking Treatments against Escherichia coli O157:H7

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Added salt, seasonings, and phosphates, along with slow- and/or low-temperature cooking impart desirable characteristics to whole-muscle beef, but might enhance Escherichia coli O157:H7 survival. We investigated the effects of added salt, seasoning, and phosphates on E. coli O157:H7 thermotolerance in ground beef, compared E. coli O157:H7 thermotolerance in seasoned roasts and ground beef, and evaluated ground beef–derived D- and z-values for predicting destruction of E. coli O157:H7 in whole-muscle beef cooking. Inoculated seasoned and unseasoned ground beef was heated at constant temperatures of 54.4, 60.0, and 65.5°C to determine D- and z-values, and E. coli O157:H7 survival was monitored in seasoned ground beef during simulated slow cooking. Inoculated, seasoned whole-muscle beef roasts were slow cooked in a commercial smokehouse, and experimentally determined lethality was compared with predicted process lethality. Adding 5% seasoning significantly decreased E. coli O157:H7 thermotolerance in ground beef at 54.4°C, but not at 60 or 65.5°C. Under nonisothermal conditions, E. coli O157:H7 thermotolerance was greater in seasoned whole-muscle beef than in seasoned ground beef. Meeting U.S. Government (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1999, Appendix A) whole-muscle beef cooking guidance, which targets Salmonella destruction, would not ensure ≥6.5-log CFU/g reduction of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef systems, but generally ensured $ 6.5-log CFU/g reduction of this pathogen in seasoned whole-muscle beef. Calculations based on D- and z-values obtained from isothermal ground beef studies increasingly overestimated destruction of E. coli O157:H7 in commercially cooked whole-muscle beef as process severity increased, with a regression line equation of observed reduction = 0.299 (predicted reduction) + 1.4373.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1605 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA 2: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Division of Food Safety, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8911, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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