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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Six Sampling Methods for Recovery of Bacteria from Beef Carcass Surfaces

Authors
item Dorsa, Warren
item Cutter, Catherine
item Siragusa, Gregory

Submitted to: Letters in Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 7, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Six methods of sampling bacteria found on beef carcasses were evaluated in 2 separate studies. Excision (the cutting out and removing of a sample) was determined to be the most effective method, while swabbing with cotton tipped wooden swabs was determined to be the least effective of the methods used. Excluding excision, the more abrasive swabbing materials used for sampling (Virgin Sponge, 3M Mesh, and Griddle Screen) were the most effective and they approached the effectiveness of excision as fecal contamination levels increased. Swabbing with a virgin sponge is capable of rapidly recovering bacterial populations from beef carcasses equivalent to excision, especially at higher contamination levels. Since this product is available commercially, it is an adequate method of beef carcass sampling for rapid, process monitoring to detect fecal contamination.

Technical Abstract: Six beef carcass bacterial sampling methods were evaluated in 2 separate studies. For the first study, bacterial recovery from uninoculated beef rounds was 2.62, 2.28, 2.05, and 1.32 log**10 CFU/cm**2, respectively for excision (EX), and swabbing with Cheesecloth (CC), Sponge (SP), and cotton tipped wooden swabs (CS). For the second study, beef tissue was inoculated with bovine feces at different levels and the mean recovery was 3.66, 3.01, 3.11, and 3.11 log**10 CFU/cm**2, respectively for EX, and swabbing with SP, Griddle Screen (GS), and 3M Mesh (M). For both studies EX was determined to be the most effective method while the initial study determined swabbing with CS was the least effective of the methods used. Excluding EX, the more abrasive swabbing materials were the most effective and they approached the effectiveness of EX as inoculation levels increased. SP is capable of rapidly recovering bacterial populations from beef carcasses equivalent to EX, especially at higher contamination levels. Consequently SP is an adequate method of beef carcass sampling for rapid, process monitoring to detect fecal contamination.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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