Project Summary

Sources and Extent of Microbial Contamination in the Manufacture of Blade-Tenderized Beef 

Principle Investigator(s):
Ken Kennedy, Wafa Birbari, Patricia Wester, and William L. Brown
ABC Research Corporation
Completion Date:
October 2002



A survey was completed in 1999 that determined the types and levels of pathogens in non-intact beef products. The information obtained in this survey indicated the need for further investigation in this category of products and an additional study involving inoculated pilot plant work by NCBA was carried out at ABC Research to determine the effect of various cooking temperatures on certain pathogens in blade-tenderized steaks. The results of this study indicated occasional survival of pathogens, particularly when the product was inoculated with high concentrations of the pathogen and cooked to a lower internal temperature. 

The available data favors the introduction of intervention strategies to control the introduction and/or multiplication of pathogens into the internal, non-intact portion of these products. More data is needed to identify the sources and locations of contamination into the product at the plant level. The collection of this data would be very beneficial in planning the next phase of the study to eliminate/decrease the introduction of pathogens into the internal parts of these products.

The stated objective for this work was to characterize the location and extent of microbial contamination in the production of blade-tenderized beef products in commercial facilities. The degree of microbial contamination (i.e., Salmonella, Listeria spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Total Enterobacteriaceae and Aerobic Plate Counts) associated with the plant environment (i.e., food contact surfaces) as well as the in-process and finished products (i.e., meat surface and interior) were investigated.

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