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Translocation of Surface-Inoculated Escherichia coli O157:H7 into Beef Subprimals following Blade Tenderization

Luchansky, J.B., Phebus, R.K., Thippareddi, H., Call, J.E.
Journal of food protection 2008 v.71 no.11 pp. 2190
beef, meat cuts, tenderizing, food surfaces, Escherichia coli O157:H7, inoculum density, food pathogens, bacterial contamination, cross contamination
In phase I, beef subprimals were inoculated on the lean side with ca. 0.5 to 3.5 log CFU/g of a rifampin-resistant (rif(r)) cocktail of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and passed once, lean side up, through a mechanical blade tenderizer. Inoculated subprimals that were not tenderized served as controls. Ten core samples were removed from each subprimal and cut into six consecutive segments: segments 1 to 4 comprised the top 4 cm and segments 5 and 6 the deepest 4 cm. Levels of E. coli O157:H7 recovered from segment 1 of control subprimals when inoculated with ca. 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, or 3.5 log CFU/g were 0.6, 1.46, 2.5, and 3.19 log CFU/g, respectively. Following tenderization, pathogen levels recovered from segment 1 inoculated with 0.5 to 3.5 log CFU/g were 0.22, 1.06, 2.04, and 2.7 log CFU/g, respectively. Levels recovered in segment 2 were 7- to 34-fold lower than levels recovered from segment 1. Next, in phase II, the translocation of ca. 4 log CFU of the pathogen per g was assessed for lean-side-inoculated subprimals passed either once (LS) or twice (LD) through the tenderizer and for fatside-inoculated subprimals passed either once (FS) or twice (FD) through the tenderizer. Levels in segment 1 for LS, LD, FS, and FD tenderized subprimals were 3.63, 3.52, 2.85, and 3.55 log CFU/g, respectively. The levels recovered in segment 2 were 14- to 50-fold lower than levels recovered in segment 1 for LS, LD, FS, and FD subprimals. Thus, blade tenderization transfers E. coli O157:H7 primarily into the topmost 1 cm, but also into the deeper tissues of beef subprimals.