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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development and Evaluation of An on-Line Hide Decontamination Procedure for Use in a Commercial Beef Processing Plant

Authors
item Bosilevac, Joseph
item Nou, Xiangwu
item Osborn, Matthew - EXCEL CORPORATION
item Allen, Dell - EXCEL CORPORATION
item Koohmaraie, Mohammad

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2004
Publication Date: February 20, 2005
Citation: Bosilevac, J.M., Nou, X., Osborn, M.S., Allen, D.M., Koohmaraie, M. 2005. Development and evaluation of an on-line hide decontamination procedure for use in a commercial beef processing plant. Journal of Food Protection. 68(2):265-272.

Interpretive Summary: E. coli O157:H7 is a bacteria that can cause life threatening infections, especially in very young, very old, or immunocompromised people. In many cases, infections are caused by eating undercooked contaminated ground beef. E. coli O157:H7 is highly prevalent on the hides of beef cattle where it is naturally found. When the hide is removed during beef processing the bacteria can contaminate the carcass. This hide-to-carcass transfer can lead to contaminated beef and ground beef products. In considering control of this contamination, the most direct approach would be to decontaminate the hides of cattle before the hide removal process. We first examined a number of antimicrobial compounds that are approved for use in processing plants to be used as hide washes and rinses. To compare the efficacy of washes, 1.6% sodium hydroxide, 4% trisodium phosphate, 4% chlorofoam, or 4% phosphoric acid were applied to cattle hides that had been draped over barrels. Each wash was followed by a rinse step using either water or acidified chlorine at 200 ppm or 500 ppm. All treatments using a water rinse reduced hide coliforms by 1 to 2 log. Compared to water rinsing, 200 ppm and 500 ppm acidified chlorine rinses increased efficacy by an additional 1 and 2 log, respectively. Vacuuming of the treated areas to remove excess liquid improved hide cleanliness by an additional 1 log. The second portion of our experiments evaluated the use of a commercial in-plant hide-wash cabinet that used a sodium hydroxide wash and chlorinated water rinse. Hides sampled before entering and after exiting the cabinet demonstrated aerobic plate counts (APC) and Enterobacteriaceae counts (EBC) that were reduced by 2.1 and 3.4 log, respectively, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 on hide was reduced from 44% to 17% when the cabinet was in use. Pre-evisceration carcass APC and EBC were both reduced by 0.8 log, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 was reduced from 17% to 2% when the cabinet was in use. These results support decontamination of hides as an effective means to reduce pathogen contamination of carcasses during processing.

Technical Abstract: The hides of cattle are the major source of Escherichia coli O157:H7 that contaminates beef carcasses during commercial beef processing. Therefore, effective interventions that reduce hide contamination should reduce subsequent carcass contamination. The first objective of this study was to identify the most effective reagents to decontaminate beef hides. Cattle hides draped over barrels were used in in vitro experiments to compare the efficacy of washes using 1.6% sodium hydroxide, 4% trisodium phosphate, 4% chlorofoam, or 4% phosphoric acid, each followed by a rinse step using either water or acidified (pH 7.0) chlorine at 200 ppm or 500 ppm. All treatments using a water rinse reduced hide coliforms by 1.5 to 2.5 log CFU per 100 cm x cm. Compared to water rinsing, 200 ppm and 500 ppm acidified chlorine rinses increased efficacy by approximately 1.0 and 2.0 log CFU per 100 cm x cm, respectively. Vacuuming of the treated areas to remove excess liquid improved hide cleanliness by an average of an additional 1.0 log CFU per 100 cm x cm. The second objective was to evaluate the use of an online hide-wash cabinet that used a sodium hydroxide wash and chlorinated (1 ppm) water rinse. Hides sampled before entering and after exiting the cabinet demonstrated aerobic plate counts (APC) and Enterobacteriaceae counts (EBC) that were reduced by 2.1 and 3.4 log CFU per 100 cm x cm, respectively, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 on hide was reduced from 44% to 17% when the cabinet was in use. Pre-evisceration carcass APC and EBC were both reduced by 0.8 log CFU per 100 cm x cm, and the prevalence of E. coli O157 was reduced from 17% to 2% when the cabinet was in use. These results support decontamination of hides as an effective means to reduce pathogen contamination of carcasses during processing.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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