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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: EFFECTS OF LOW-DOSE, LOW-PENETRATION ELECTRON BEAM IRRADIATION OF CHILLED BEEF CARCASS SURFACE CUTS ON ESCHERICHIA COLI O157:H7 AND MEAT QUALITY

Authors
item Arthur, Terrance
item Wheeler, Tommy
item Shackelford, Steven
item Bosilevac, Joseph
item Nou, Xiangwu
item Koohmaraie, Mohammad

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 3, 2004
Publication Date: April 20, 2005
Citation: Arthur, T.M., Wheeler, T.L., Shackelford, S.D., Bosilevac, J.M., Nou, X., Koohmaraie, M. 2005. Effects of low-dose, low-penetration electron beam irradiation of chilled beef carcass surface cuts on Escherichia coli O157:H7 and meat quality. Journal of Food Protection. 68(4):666-672.

Interpretive Summary: Low-dose, low-penetration electron beam (E-beam) irradiation was evaluated for potential use to kill bacteria on beef carcasses during processing. The objectives of this study were (i) to assess how well E-beam irradiation can reduce levels of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on a large beef surface and (ii) to evaluate the effect of the treatment on the taste, smell, and color of the product. A low dose of E-beam irradiation reduced E. coli O157:H7, inoculated onto sections of beef, 99.99%. In assessing for effects on beef quality, the flank steak was used as the model muscle, and was treated with 5, 10, 25, 50, and 75% penetrating irradiation. None of the flank steak sensory attributes was affected by any penetration treatment. Ground beef formulations consisting of 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, and 0% irradiated beef were tested. A trained sensory panel did not detect any difference between the untreated ground beef and either the 5 or 10% formulations. These results suggest that if chilled carcasses were subjected to low-dose E-beam irradiation, aroma and flavor of ground beef would not be impacted. The data presented here show that low-dose, low-penetration E- beam irradiation has great potential for use as an antimicrobial intervention on beef carcasses during processing and minimally impacts the quality of the treated beef products.

Technical Abstract: Low-dose, low-penetration electron beam (E-beam) irradiation was evaluated for potential use as an antimicrobial intervention on beef carcasses during processing. The objectives of this study were (i) to assess the efficacy of E-beam irradiation to reduce levels of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on a large beef surface and (ii) to evaluate the effect of the treatment on the sensory properties of the product. A 1 kGy dose of E-beam irradiation reduced E. coli O157:H7, inoculated onto sections of cutaneous trunci, at least 4 logs. In assessing for organoleptic impact, the flank steak was used as the model muscle, and was treated with 5, 10, 25, 50, and 75% penetrating irradiation. None of the flank steak sensory attributes were affected (P > 0.05) by any penetration treatment. Ground beef formulations consisting of 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, and 0% surface-irradiated beef were tested. A trained sensory panel did not detect any difference between the control (0%) and either the 5 or 10% treatments. These results suggest that if chilled carcasses were subjected to low-dose E-beam irradiation, aroma and flavor of ground beef would not be impacted. The data presented here show that low-dose, low-penetration E- beam irradiation has great potential for use as an antimicrobial intervention on beef carcasses during processing and minimally impacts the organoleptic qualities of the treated beef products.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014