story to find out more.
Ground beef samples are prepared for enumeration
of bacteria by microbiologists Mick Bosilevac and Dayna Harhay. Click the
image for more information about it.
Irradiation for Healthier Food
McGinnis October 30, 2006
Radiation takes a lot of blame for a variety of problems, from sunburn
to superhero maladies. But in small doses, it actually contributes to a safer
Low levels of irradiation can help ensure that U.S. beef producers are
providing the safest, highest-quality ground beef products possible. That's the
conclusion of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Roman L. Hruska U.S.
Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC)
in Clay Center, Neb.
Ground beef can pose a serious threat to human health if contaminated
by a disease-causing microbe, or pathogen, during grinding. USMARC Director
Koohmaraie and his colleagues examined the effectiveness of using low
levels of radiation on beef carcasses before cutting, to reduce pathogens in
High-penetration, high-energy radiation is a safe method of killing
bacteria, but it can alter the beef's odor and flavor. Could low-dose,
low-penetration electron beam (E-beam) irradiation offer an effective
The researchers discovered that the low-penetration E-beam reached
approximately 15 millimeters (about 1/2 inch) below the surface of the carcass.
Because pathogens are most prevalent on the surface, this technology can
significantly lower their numbers.
Research also showed that E-beam irradiation effectively reduced
pathogens on the carcass surface with little to no influence on the flavor of
beef that was used to make stir fry and ground beef products.
about this and other ARS food safety research in the October 2006 issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.