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Use of Common Foods to Reduce Microbial Loads in Meats

McKee, Lisa
New Mexico State University
Start date
End date
  1. To evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of consumable products in reducing the microbial loads on the surfaces of meats;
  2. To evaluate the effectiveness of different methods of applying consumable products to meats in reducing the microbial loads on the surfaces of meats;
  3. To evaluate the effect of conditions such as temperature, length of exposure, type of meat cut and thawing methods on the ability of consumable products to reduce the microbial loads on the surfaces of meats.
More information
Non-Technical Summary: The safety of food reaching consumers is a growing concern. Any food can be a potential microbial hazard, but meats are one group of foods that are often highly contaminated when they reach consumers. This project examines the use of common food substances as agents for reducing the microbial loads on meat surfaces.

Approach: This project will focus on retail chicken, pork and beef cuts of meat. Immediately upon removal of the packaging, one-half of the exposed surface of the piece of meat will be swabbed with a sterile cellulose sponge premoistened with 10 ml of sterile Butterfield's buffer. Swabbing will consist of 10 vertical and 10 horizontal strokes. The piece of meat will then be turned over and one-half of the surface will be swabbed on the opposite end of the piece of meat with the opposite side of the sponge. A V-cut will then be made in the swabbed end of the sample with scissors sanitized in reagent alcohol. After treatment, meat samples will be aseptically transferred to pieces of sterile aluminum foil and swabbed on the unswabbed surfaces of both sides of the meat with a second premoistened sponge using the V-cut as a guideline. Sponge swabs will be placed into sterile Stomacher bags containing 15 ml of sterile 0.1% Butterfield's phosphate buffer and mixed for 2 minutes at 230 rpm in a Stomacher Laboratory Blender to release bacterial cells. Width and length measurements will be taken of meat samples to calculate the area equivalent to 1 ml of homogenate. Samples will be evaluated for total aerobic counts (APC), total coliform counts (TCC) and generic Escherichia coli (E. coli) counts using standard procedures

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Project number
Accession number
Packaging Residues
Escherichia coli
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Meat, Poultry, Game