Recent work has shown that E. coli can essentially be eliminated from dressed carcasses in commercial packing plants. Carcass chilling processes can be operated to supplement or largely substitute for decontaminating treatments. Machinery and personal equipment can be cleaned and used in ways that prevent such equipment from contaminating meat during carcass breaking. As a result, food safety issues with beef may arise if known best practices and treatments and practices necessary to produce cuts and trimmings free of pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella are incompletely or inappropriately implemented.
Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster is working to identify which commercial interventions and practices plant personnel should focus on to give maximum control of pathogens and spoilage organisms for minimum cost. Effectively controlling hazardous and spoilage microorganisms will facilitate trade of chilled beef to overseas markets where customers expect product to have a storage life of at least 120 days, and possibly 180 days.
To learn more about this research, see the BCRC fact sheet: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/practical-and-effective-food-safety-procedures-for-beef-packing-plants-147
A general overview of in-plant mitigation of pathogens is available here: http://www.beefresearch.ca/research-topic.cfm/in-plant-mitigation-of-pathogens-12
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