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Survey of the Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157-H7 on the Surface of Sub-Primal Cuts of Beef During Winter Months (Phase I)


To determine the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 and indicator microorganisms on the surface
of beef sub-primals prior to the enhancement process. This data was collected during the
winter months.

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These results indicate that the incidence of E. coli O157:H7 contamination on the surface of beef sub-primal cuts intended for mechanical tenderization (enhancement) is very low (i.e., <0.17%) with no E. coli O157:H7 being detected in any of the 600 sub-primal samples during January and February of 2004. A previous study (NCBA Project Report, 2003) demonstrated an extremely low internalization rate of surface contaminating E. coli O157:H7 into subprimals by blade tenderization. These results along with those of the previous internalization study indicate that internal contamination of beef subprimals with E. coli O157:H7 via mechanical tenderization (enhancement) is a very improbable phenomenon.

Kennedy, Ken
ABC Research
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