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Methods for Effectively Controlling E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella during the Production of Non-Intact Beef Products


In 1994 USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) declared E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant
in raw ground beef, and in 1999, FSIS clarified that the public health risk by raw beef products
contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 was not limited to ground beef, but also included non-intact beef
(e.g., tenderized, marinated, and enhanced) products. During the past two years there have also been
recalls and illnesses associated with Salmonella on beef products. While the results of research studies
have shown the prevalence of pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 on the surface of beef subprimals
is rare, recalls and illnesses associated with non-intact beef products have been reported, and beef
processors continue to search for ways to ensure the safety of these products.<P>
While the industry has developed and implemented antimicrobial interventions to reduce E. coli
O157:H7 at various steps during harvest, there is limited information on effective interventions that
can be applied to chilled primal and subprimals prior to or during the production of non-intact
products. Also, the production of non-intact beef products is a complex system because there are
multiple production processes used to create these types of products. For example, enhanced
products include pumped, pumped and tumbled, vacuum tumbled only, while tenderizing may be
done with a blade tenderized, cubing or other techniques. For each of these processes there are
different conditions that could impact the pathogen levels that must be considered. The processing
sector must have the ability to support the decisions made in the food safety/HACCP programs to
demonstrate effective controls for E. coli O157:H7.<P>
Therefore, this project was designed to identify production practices and interventions for chilled
subprimals and primal that could be applied prior to or during the production of non-intact beef
products to control E. coli O157:H7. These data can be used by beef processors to enhance their
food safety/HACCP systems, and to provide scientific support to USDA's Food Safety and
Inspection Service. <P>
Objectives: To identify optimal production practices and interventions for chilled primal or subprimals that
could be applied prior to or during

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Findings: For the high-inoculated strip loins, the 2.5% and 5% lactic acid treatments and the acidified sodium
chlorite were responsible for the greatest reduction of microorganisms. For the low inoculated strip
loins, the 5% lactic acid and acidified sodium chlorite treatments resulted in the greatest reduction of
the microorganisms. Hypobromous acid, peroxyacetic acid, and water treatment were least effective
at reducing the microorganism on both the high and low inoculated strip loins. The 2.5% lactic acid
treatment was equally effective as all other treatments at reducing the indicator organisms on the
low-inoculated strip loins.<P>
For high-inoculated products all treatments, with the exception of the 5% lactic acid, had reduced
levels of surface contamination following vacuum tumbling. This effect was not nearly as strong
with the low inoculated strip loins. Internalization of indicator organisms post-marination was
identical across treatment and control for the low-inoculated strip loins. For the high-inoculated
strip loins, the water treatment resulted in the greatest internalization of indicator organisms postmarination, while the control strip loins had the fewest internalization of indicator organisms.

Ulbrich, Carson; Taylor, T. Matthew; Savell, Jeffrey; Lucia, Lisa; Harris, Kerri
Texas A&M University
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