The overall goal of this research was to evaluate practical and cost-effective decontamination technologies for beef processors that can be rapidly implemented using antimicrobial properties of peroxyacetic acid, novel organic acids alone or in combination with a non-ionic surfactant (ethoxylated glyceride, EG) on beef trimmings against E. coli O157:H7, O26, O103, O111, O121, O45, and O145 and Salmonella Typhimurium DT 104, Newport MDR-AmpC to achieve maximum ground beef product safety without altering product quality through effective treatment application technologies.
The results of this study indicated that conventional spray application of peroxyacetic acid (PA) followed by conventional or electrostatic spray application of octanoic acid (PO), pyruvic acid (PP), malic acid (PM) or fumaric (PF) on beef trimmings may effectively reduce E. coli O157:H7, non-O157:H7 and Salmonella populations on subsequent ground beef. Furthermore, the use of electrostatic spray application of antimicrobials was effective for reducing microbial numbers but used much less antimicrobials than conventional spray applications. This resulted in greater savings to achieve enhanced safety using electrostatic spray as compared to conventional spray application. In addition these treatments had little or no impact on ground beef instrumental color, sensory color and odor, and processing characteristics thereby leaving them similar in color and sensory characteristics as untreated ground beef.
The electrostatic atomization uses electrically charged droplets of antimicrobials that will be attracted to the target meat samples. The results indicate that ES application of some organic acids may have similar or greater efficiency in controlling ground beef microbial populations application compared to the CS application of the same acid. An added advantage was that the ES method provided uniform coverage of antimicrobial on exposed surfaces of meat allowing efficient antimicrobial usage with less wastage. Therefore, the ES system establishes a more economical and waste manageable decontamination approach in controlling E. coli O157:H7 or non-O157H7 and Salmonella populations in ground beef without causing deleterious effects on color properties. This opens new avenues to utilize economically unfeasible yet efficient natural organic acids such as pyruvic, malic, octanoic and fumaric acids in a more cost effective manner in meat decontamination.