EFFECTS OF DEHYDRATION ON BACTERIA LEVELS OF NON-HEAT TREATED, SHELF-STABLE, WHOLE-MUSCLE BEEF JERKY
ABSTRACT This study evaluated, aerobic bacteria and pathogen surrogate (Saga 200) levels of non-heat treated, shelf-stable, whole-muscle beef jerky over five processing days. Beef inside rounds (NAMP# 169A), were sliced into identical strips. Strips were assigned to either experiment I (n=72) or Experiment II (n=126/trial) and then assigned to one of three treatments: control, marinate, or dry rub. Experiment II strips were inoculated with Saga 200 prior to treatment application and dehydration. Strips were dehydrated on racks at 50±2°F (relative humidity of 65±5%). Samples were tested every 24 h for bacteria levels, water activity (Aw), and pH. Experiment I, showed an average 1.25 log10 reduction of APC over six days (P≤0.05). Experiment II showed a 1.5 log10 reduction of Saga 200 over six days (P≤0.05), and Aw ranged from 0.97-0.68 and pH ranged between 5.84 and 5.48. Results showed that simple dehydration without thermal treatment is insufficient to meet FSIS requirements.