Project Number: 8072-41420-019-02-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jan 1, 2012
End Date: Nov 30, 2017
To substantially mitigate the risk of STEC infections associated with beef products through comprehensive research, outreach and education. Develop and validate traditional and novel interventions to mitigate the risk of STEC contamination on hides, carcasses, ground beef and non-intact beef products.
The fundamental question being addressed by the proposed research is does non-intact beef pose a greater risk to public health than otherwise similar, but intact, cuts of beef. To this end, we will comparatively/directly evaluate the extent to which enhancement methods currently used by industry, namely blade tenderization, chemical enhancement, and vacuum tumbling, transfer pathogenic E. coli into the deeper tissues of the meat. We will also quantify if prior chemical treatment of subprimals or inclusion of an antimicrobial within the brine formulation used for injection and/or the marinade for vacuum tumbling will lessen the load of E. coli available for translocation and/or result in greater inactivation of the pathogen during subsequent storage or cooking. In addition to validating the effect of cooking on thermal inactivation of internalized Shiga toxin producing E. coli within enhanced steaks, we will also validate conditions needed for sonication of contaminated tenderization blades to remove/kill the pathogens. It should be noted that the experimental techniques to be used are quite effective and have already been peer-reviewed and published.