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A Genetic Method To Evaluate the Prevalence of Unique DNA Profiles between Sequential Ground Beef Batches

Peters, G., Cleveland, B., Higgins, J., Butler, F., Meghen, C.
Journal of food protection 2017 v.80 no.3 pp. 425-430
DNA fingerprinting, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, cross contamination, genotyping, grinding, ground beef, issues and policy, meat production, models, raw materials, single nucleotide polymorphism
The delineation of ground beef batches has implications for the management of product disposition policies in the event of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli contamination. Analysis of individual contributor animal-specific DNA profiles can provide valuable empirical data for understanding the dynamics of ground meat production processes and can act as a surrogate for cross-contamination. A genetic method was developed for characterizing the source raw material flow and carryover between discrete batches of ground beef in a large-scale commercial beef grinding operation. The application developed involves the introduction of a genetically distinct source raw material batch into the grinding system and comprehensive sampling of that index batch and subsequent batches followed by single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping of random subsamples. Capture-mark-recapture statistical techniques were used to estimate (i) the number of carcass contributors and (ii) the associated level of carryover between batches. Carryover, expressed as a percentage of the total weight of the batch material (in pounds), was observed between the genetically distinct index batch and the next sequential batch at approximately 1%. The nondetection of additional carryover to subsequent batches, with a detection level of approximately 0.2%, supports a serial dilution model of same source raw material carryover, consistent with the recorded weight of beef trimmings used in each batch. For ground beef manufacturers, this method is a simple approach for validating the independence of finished batches of beef in their grind systems in support of product disposition policies.