In-Plant Evaluation of a Lactic Acid Treatment for Reduction of Bacteria on Chilled Beef Carcasses†
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The effectiveness of a lactic acid treatment consisting of spraying a 4% L-lactic acid solution (55 degrees C at source) on chilled beef carcasses to reduce bacterial populations was tested in a commercial slaughter environment. All carcasses had been treated with a proprietary decontamination treatment composed of a hot water spray followed by a lactic acid spray prior to chilling. Bacterial groups used to indicate reductions included aerobic plate count (APC), total coliform count, and Escherichia coli count, and samples were examined from the brisket, the clod, and the neck regions of 40 untreated and 40 treated carcass sides. Depending on the carcass surface region, APCs were reduced by 3.0 to 3.3 log cycles. Log coliform and E. coli counts were consistently reduced to undetectable levels. The small reductions observed for coliforms are attributable to counts on untreated carcasses already being near the lower detection limit of the counting method. The percentage of samples with detectable numbers of coliforms (positive samples) on untreated carcasses ranged from 52.5 to 92.5%, while 0.0% of the samples collected from treated carcasses contained detectable coliforms. Percent E. coli-positive samples ranged from 7.5 to 30.0% on untreated carcasses and 0.0% after treatment of carcass sides. These results indicate that a hot lactic acid spray with increased concentration and time of application may be effectively implemented for an additional decontamination treatment of chilled beef carcasses prior to fabrication.
author list (cited authors)
CASTILLO, A., LUCIA, L. M., MERCADO, I., & ACUFF, G. R.