In-plant Validation of Two Antimicrobial Agents Applied During the Production of Tenderized and/or Enhanced Beef Products



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Numerous outbreaks of foodborne illness have been attributed to non-intact beef (e.g., tenderized, marinated, and enhanced) products contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7. Organic acids are commonly utilized in the beef industry as antimicrobial interventions, which must be validated to eliminate or reduce E. coli O157:H7 to an undetectable level. Rifampicin-resistant Biotype I E. coli O157:H7 surrogate microorganisms (ATCC BAA-1427, BAA-1428, and BAA-1430) were applied as a cocktail (7.8 log10 CFU/ml) to three beef products (boneless strip loins, top sirloin butts, and bottom sirloin flaps) prior to treatment with an antimicrobial intervention (2.5% Beefxide or 2.9% lactic acid). Products were then subjected to a single or multiple pass tenderization and/or marination process. Beefxide and lactic acid treatments resulted in statistically significant log reductions of the microorganisms (P < 0.05) on the surfaces for all three products. Surrogate microorganisms were recovered from interior samples of all three products after mechanical tenderization. Additionally, surrogate concentrations recovered from flap surface and internal samples taken post-tumbling and marination were statistically similar (P < 0.05). These data indicate that tenderization and marination processes can transfer microorganisms into the interior of whole-muscle cuts, and suggest Beefxide and lactic acid may be similar in their efficacy as an antimicrobial applied as an intervention in the production of non-intact beef products.