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
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
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: [email protected]