Sources of Escherichia coli deposited on beef during breaking of carcasses carrying few E. coli at two packing plants

Citation:
Youssef, M. K., M. Badoni, X. Yang, and C. O. Gill, "Sources of Escherichia coli deposited on beef during breaking of carcasses carrying few E. coli at two packing plants", Food Control, vol. 31, issue 1: Elsevier, pp. 166-171, 2013.

Abstract:

Microbiological samples were obtained from the hands of workers, personal equipment and conveyor belts, in the carcass breaking facility of a beef packing plant where chilled carcasses carry coliforms and Escherichia coli at numbers < 1 cfu/10,000 cm2. Before work started, steel mesh gloves carried coliform and E. coli at numbers of 4 and 3 log cfu/25 items, respectively, while their numbers on conveyor belts were >2 and <2 log cfu/2500 cm2, respectively. After a period of work the numbers of both coliforms and E. coli on steel mesh gloves and conveyor belts were reduced by about 1 log unit, but the numbers on cotton gloves worn under steel mesh gloves were 5 and >4 log cfu/25 items, respectively. The findings indicate that the proximate source of most coliforms and E. coli that contaminate cuts and trimmings are, respectively, cotton gloves and conveyors. Microbiological samples were similarly obtained at a second plant where drying of carcass surfaces during chilling gave carcasses with coliforms and E. coli at numbers about 1 cfu/1000 cm2. Before work started, steel mesh gloves were free of coliforms and E. coli; and the uniform wearing of rubber gloves over cotton ones precluded contamination of cotton gloves. The conveyor belt carried coliforms and E. coli at numbers about 1 cfu/cm2 and >1 cfu/100 cm2, respectively, before work started; and at numbers < 1 cfu/cm2 and about 1 cfu/100 cm2, respectively, after a period of work. The findings indicate that at the second plant both cuts and trimmings are contaminated with coliforms and E. coli from the conveyor.

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