Validation of Hot Water and Lactic Acid Sprays for the Reduction of Enteric Pathogens on the Surface of Beef Carcasses



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Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella have emerged as the most common foodborne enteric pathogens causing human illness from the consumption of beef. By mandate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the industry has implemented a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system that utilize intervention technologies for controlling, preventing, and/or reducing enteric pathogens. In addition, USDA-FSIS has mandated that each facility must validate, monitor, and verify the effectiveness of each intervention implemented to eliminate E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. For this study, microbial decontamination interventions at two beef slaughter facilities were validated to demonstrate effectiveness in eliminating or reducing enteric pathogens. The facilities selected utilized either a lactic acid spray treatment or a combination of hot water followed by a lactic acid treatment. At both facilities, mesophilic plate counts (MPC) were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced, and E. coli and coliforms were eliminated below detectable limits at both facilities. No Salmonella positive samples were detected after either facility's intervention sequence. The framework used in this research to validate interventions can also be utilized in the future for yearly verification of the effectiveness of each intervention.