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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Gas Formation in Ground Beef Chubs Due to Hafnia Alvei Is Reduced by Multiple Applications of Antimicrobial Interventions to Artificially inoculated Beef Trim Stock

Authors
item Kang, Dong-Hyun - FORMER ARS EMPLOYEE
item Arthur, Terrance
item Siragusa, Gregory

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2002
Publication Date: October 20, 2002
Citation: Kang, D., Arthur, T.M., Siragusa, G.R. 2002. Gas formation in ground beef chubs due to Hafnia alvei is reduced by multiple applications of antimicrobial interventions to artificially inoculated beef trim stock. Journal of Food Protection. 65(10):1651-1655.

Interpretive Summary: Gas bloating in ground beef chubs is a defect often reported by meat packers. We isolated gas-forming bacteria named Hafnia alvei from such defective packages and used them to study the effects of applying multiple antimicrobial treatments to the beef stock used in manufacturing ground beef chubs. The inoculated beef trim samples were treated with one of the following treatments applied using the pilot scale system at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; W (water wash at 65 psi), W/L (W + L [2% vol/vol room temperature lactic acid), COMB (combination treatment; 82 deg hot water + 510 deg C hot air + L) and C (untreated controls). All of the treatments reduced the initial Hafnia populations with the combination treatments reducing it to the greatest degree. In meat treated by W, W/L, and COMB, bloating occurred after 4, 7, and 9 to 10 days of storage at 15 deg C, respectively. These results demonstrate that multiple antimicrobial interventions not only reduce H. alvei numbers on beef trim, but also delay the onset of gas formation in ground beef chubs made from the treated beef trimmings. Implementing this procedure in a processing plant will require both engineering and further process development.

Technical Abstract: Gas-forming bacteria were isolated from gas-swollen ground beef chubs from a commercial source and identified as Hafnia alvei. The isolated H. alvei strains produced gas in inoculated irradiation sterilized ground beef chubs. A five-strain cocktail of H. alvei isolates was inoculated on beef trim (15 cm x 15 cm x 2 cm). The inoculated beef trim samples were treated with one of the following treatments applied using a pilot scale conveyor belt; W (water wash at 65 psi), W/L (W + L [2% vol/vol room temperature lactic acid), COMB (combination treatment; 82 deg hot water + 510 deg C hot air + L) and C (untreated controls). The treated beef trim was ground and vacuum packaged. The numbers of H. alvei were reduced by water alone and by the multiple antimicrobial treatments. For the inoculated untreated control (C), the numbers of H. alvei increased from 7.03 log CFU/g to 8.40 log CFU/g after 7 days of incubation at 4 deg C. The numbers of H. alvei treated by successive antimicrobial interventions (COMB) were initially reduced to 5.25 log CFU/g and increased just to 6.9 log CFU/g after 7 days of incubation at 4 deg C. Gas was produced in untreated control samples after 3 days at 15 deg C (15 of 15 inoculated chubs). However, in meat treated by W, W/L, and COMB, gas was produced after 4 to 5, 7 to 8, and 9 to 10 days of storage at 15 deg C, respectively. These results demonstrate that multiple antimicrobial interventions not only reduce H. alvei numbers on beef trim, but also delay the onset of gas formation in the ground beef chubs made from the treated beef trimmings.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014