The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of and feasibility of integration of several processing technologies such as EO water, LA-SDS wash, IR heating, radio frequency, UV radiation, and UV-TiO2 photocatalysis into cattle slaughter establishment and meat processing facilities as a multiple hurdle to inactivate STEC, NoV, and other pathogens on beef, non-intact beef, and RTE beef products. <P>Specific objectives are: 1. Establish an advisory committee to advise the research team. 2. Identify optimal treatment conditions for IR heating, EO water and levulinic acid with sodium dodecyl (LA-SDS) wash, and radio frequency (RF) treatment for achieving greatest STEC and indicator microorganism reductions on beef carcasses. 3. Identify optimal treatment conditions for EO water and LA-SDS wash, IR heating, RF treatment, and UV irradiation for achieving greatest STEC and indicator microorganism reduction on non-intact beef products. 4. Evaluate the quality attributes of non-intact beef products subjected to the optimal treatments identified from Objective 3. 5. Evaluate the efficacy of EO water and UV activated TiO2 (UV-TiO2) coating applied to food contact and processing equipment surfaces, food processing environment, and food packaging film for inactivation of Norovirus, STEC, and indicator microorganisms. 6. Determine the prevalence of viruses in cattle and beef products. 7. Identify optimal treatment conditions of IR heating, RF treatment, UV irradiation, and UV-TiO2 for inactivation of Norovirus (NoV), STEC, and indicator microorganisms on ready-to-eat beef products. 8. Select optimal treatment condition, identified from Objective 7, with minimal effects on quality of RTE beef products 9. Working with our equipment partners and incorporate research findings to design prototype equipment for pilot plant testing. 10. Working with our meat industry partners to conduct pilot plant testing on prototype equipment for their respective process control point and document the degree of inactivation of STEC, Norovirus and indicator microorganisms as well as their effects on meat quality. 11. Conduct meat processing workshops, develop content suitable for delivery through eXtension. 12. Refine technologies and equipment design based on the findings from Objective 10 for development of equipment for large, medium and small processors. 13. Conduct feasibility and economic cost-benefit analyses <P> Successful completion of this project will generate the following outcomes: 1. The efficacy of EO water, LA-SDS wash, IR heating, radio frequency, UV radiation, and UV-TiO2 photocatalysis for inactivating STEC, NoV, and indicator microorganism on beef carcasses and non-intact beef product will be documented. 2. Effect of various treatments on the quality beef carcasses and non-intact beef product will be determined 3. Prototype equipment for their respective process control point will be designed and constructed. 4. Feasibility of adoption of the processing technologies developed from the project will be identified. 5. Extension programs to disseminate the research findings will be developed.
Non-Technical Summary: Cattle have been implicated as important reservoir of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and STEC have been associated with human disease causing illnesses that range from mild diarrhea to bloody diarrhea, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). The United States had 94.5 million head of cattle on January 1, 2009 and the U.S. beef industry is a $76 billion annual business, with exports valued at $2.5 billion and imports at $2.7 billion in 2009. Total U.S. sales of beef are valued at about $1.5 billion annually, contributing $4 billion in business activity and employing 50,000 people throughout the U.S. Since January, 2000, more than 20 million pounds of beef have been recalled in North America and a 2003 U.S. study estimated the annual cost of STEC associated illnesses to be $405 million. In addition, human noroviruses (NoV) account for an estimated 2/3 of all disease caused by foodborne pathogens. NoV contamination of food can occur anywhere along the farm to fork continuum by human contact, or contact with contaminated water. NoVs are also well adapted to survival in and on foods. The overall objective of the proposed study is to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of integrating six different technologies (infrared radiation, radio frequency, electrolyzed water, a levulinic acid plus sodium dodecyl sulfate sanitizer, germicidal UV light, and UV activated TiO2 photocatalysis treatment) into slaughter establishments and meat processing facilities as multiple hurdles to inactivate STEC and NoV on beef and non-intact beef products. Inputs from beef processors, equipment manufacturers, and meat processors associations have been obtained to provide guidance and to implement research findings. Feasibility and economic cost-benefit analyses will also be conducted. Success of this project will help ensure the safety of non-intact beef products and ready to eat products, such as deli meats. <P> Approach: Treatment parameters of infrared radiation (peak frequency, distance, product temperature, and exposure pattern, and total energy), EO water (pH, spray pattern, water pressure, nozzle size, and electrostatic charge), levulinic acid plus SDS sanitizer (spray pattern, water pressure, nozzle size), germicidal UV light (distance, intensity, exposure rate), and UV activated TiO2 photocatalysis treatment (property of TiO2, amount of coating, UV frequency, distance) for inactivation of STEC, cell culture infectivity models for the uncultivable HuNoV and indicator microorganisms on beef carcasses, non-intact beef and ready-to-eat beef products will be determined. The efficacy of UV activated TiO2 coating applied to food contact and processing equipment surfaces, food processing environment (tiles, ceiling, walls, --), food packaging films, and air filters for inactivation of STEC, HuNoV and indicator microorganisms will also be determined. Prototype equipment for pilot plant and small meat processors will be developed and tested. Feasibility and economic cost-benefit analyses will be conducted.