Effects of dry chilling on the microflora on beef carcasses at a Canadian beef packing plant.

Liu, Y., Youssef, M.K., and Yang, X.Q. (2016). "Effects of dry chilling on the microflora on beef carcasses at a Canadian beef packing plant.", Journal of Food Protection, 79(4), pp. 538-543. doi : 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-476  Access to full text

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the course of effects on the microflora on beef carcasses of a commercial dry chilling process in which carcasses were dry chilled for 3 days. Groups of 25 carcasses selected at random were sampled when the chilling process commenced and after the carcasses were chilled for 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, and 67 h for determination of the numbers of aerobes, coliforms, and Escherichia coli. The temperatures of the surfaces and the thickest part of the hip (deep leg) of carcasses, as well as the ambient air conditions, including air temperature, velocity, and relative humidity (RH), were monitored throughout the chilling process. The chiller was operated at 0°C with an off-coil RH of 88%. The air velocity was 1.65 m/s when the chiller was loaded. The initial RH levels of the air in the vicinity of carcasses varied with the locations of carcasses in the chiller and decreased rapidly during the first hour of chilling. The average times for shoulder surfaces, rump surfaces, and the deep leg of carcasses to reach 7°C were 13.6 ± 3.1, 16.0 ± 2.4 and 32.4 ± 3.2 h, respectively. The numbers of aerobes, coliforms, and E. coli on carcasses before chilling were 5.33 ± 0.42, 1.95 ± 0.77, 1.42 ± 0.78 log CFU/4,000 cm2, respectively. The number of aerobes on carcasses was reduced by 1 log unit each in the first hour of chilling and in the subsequent 23 h of chilling. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the numbers of aerobes recovered from carcasses after 24 and 67 h of chilling. The total numbers (log CFU/100,000 cm2) on carcasses before chilling and after the first hour of chilling were 3.86 and 2.24 for coliforms and 3.30 and 2.04 for E. coli. The subsequent 23 h of chilling reduced the numbers of both groups of organisms by a further log unit. No coliforms or E. coli were recovered after 67 h of chilling. The findings show that the chilling regime investigated in this study resulted in significant reductions of all three groups of indicator organisms.

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