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Hwang C.-A.,Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research Unit | Sheen S.,Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit | Juneja V.,Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research Unit | Hwang C.-F.,Hungkuang University | And 2 more authors.
Food Control

Acid solutions are increasingly being used for decontaminating meat surfaces. On the surfaces of acid-treated meat, the population of microorganism is reduced due to the low pH of acids, and the subsequent growth of the microorganism is reduced due to the residual acids on meat surfaces. Microbial cells on meat surfaces subjected to acid treatments may cross-contaminate untreated meat surfaces, e.g., microorganisms on the surfaces of acid-treated cooked ham cross contaminate the untreated surfaces during slicing. The objective of this study was to examine this scenario in determining the subsequent growth of acid-treated Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 on the surfaces of untreated meat. Cells of multiple-strain L.monocytogenes or E.coli O157:H7 were exposed to HCl solutions of pH 3, 4, or 5 and deionized water at room temperature for 24h. The acid or deionized water-treated cells were inoculated separately onto cooked ham. Samples inoculated with L.monocytogenes were stored at 4 and 8°C and samples inoculated with E.coli O157:H7 were stored at 10 and 12°C. Populations of the pathogens on ham were enumerated during storage, and the lag phase durations (LPD, h) and growth rates (GR, log CFU/h) of the pathogens were determined. The populations of L.monocytogenes and E.coli O157:H7 in pH 5, 4, and 3 solutions were 1.2-3.1 and 0.6-2.4 logCFU/ml, respectively, lower than those in deionized water, indicating an increased acid stress on both microorganisms at lower pHs. L.monocytogenes subjected to pH 3 and pH 4 stresses and E.coli O157:H7 subjected to pH 3 stress exhibited significantly (p<0.05) extended LPDs and reduced GRs on cooked ham. The growth of L.monocytogenes on ham was more readily reduced by acid stress than that of E.coli O157:H7. This study showed that acid treatments reduced the viability of L.monocytogenes and E.coli O157:H7and the acid stress reduced their subsequent growth ability on untreated ham. Therefore, cross-contamination of L.monocytogenes or E.coli O157:H7 cells from acid-treated meat surfaces onto untreated meat surfaces may not impose increased risk to the product. © 2013. Source

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