Commercial household steam cleaning systems control microbial quality.

Small meat processing facilities are in need of a pathogen

reduction technique that would be effective, operational and economical

for them to implement.

Scientists at the University of Georgia evaluated the effectiveness

of a commercial household steam cleaner in reducing naturally occurring

bacterial populations on freshly slaughtered beef and hog carcasses in

four small meat processing plants. They determined that this type of



system can be very effective in reducing overall bacterial populations

on freshly slaughtered beef and hog carcasses in such small processing

facilities.



In experiments, three anatomical sites on the right half of

carcasses were each exposed to a 60-second steam treatment. The

corresponding left half of the carcass remained as the untreated

control.



In total, 144 beef and hog carcasses were sampled before,

immediately after, and 24 hours after the steam treatment was applied.

The mean levels of total aerobes, coliforms and Enterobacteriaece

before, immediately after, and 24 hours after the steam treatment

totaled 1.88, 1.00 and 1.10 log10 CFU per cm2; 1.89, 0.71 and 0.95 log10

CFU per cm2; and 1.36, 0.52 and 0.50 log10 CFU per cm2, respectively, on

the three anatomical sites of beef carcasses.



On hog carcasses, the mean populations of total aerobes, coliform and Enterobacteriaece before, immediately after, and 24 hours after the

steam treatment were 2.50, 0.50 and 0.91 log10 CFU per cm2; 2.41, 0.94

and 1.56 log10 CFU per cm2; and 1.88, 0.21 and 0.44 log10 CFU per cm2,

respectively, on the three anatomical sites.



The steam treatment significantly reduced the levels of total

aerobes, coliforms and Enterobacteriaece at all three locations on both

types of carcasses. The order of mean populations recovered from beef

and hog carcasses before steam treatment was: midline (greatest), neck,

rump, and belly, jowl, and ham, respectively. Of the 144 carcasses

evaluated, five tested positive for Salmonella before the steam

treatment. However, all of the carcasses tested negative for Salmonella

after undergoing the treatment.



Further information. Jinru Chen, Department of Food Science and

Technology, 0183 Melton Building, University of Georgia, Griffin, GA

30223; phone: 770-412-4738; email: jchen@uga.edu.