Abstract: Brine solution injection of beef contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 on its surface may lead to internalization of pathogen cells and/or cross-contamination of the brine, which when recirculated, may serve as a source of new product contamination. This study evaluated survival of E. coli O157:H7 in brines formulated without or with antimicrobials. The brines were formulated in sterile distilled water (simulating the composition of freshly prepared brines) or in a nonsterile 3% meat homogenate (simulating the composition of recirculating brines) at concentrations used to moisture-enhance meat to 110% of initial weight, as follows: sodium chloride (NaCl, 5.5%) + sodium tripolyphosphate (STP, 2.75%), NaCl + sodium pyrophosphate (2.75%), or NaCl + STP combined with potassium lactate (PL, 22%), sodium diacetate (SD, 1.65%), PL + SD, lactic acid (3.3%), acetic acid (3.3%), citric acid (3.3%), nisin (0.0165%) + ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA, 200 mM), pediocin (11000 AU/mL) + EDTA, sodium metasilicate (2.2%), cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC, 5.5%), or hops beta acids (0.0055%). The brines were inoculated (3 to 4 log CFU/mL) with rifampicin-resistant E. coli O157:H7 (8-strain composite) and stored at 4 or 15 °C (24 to 48 h). Immediate (0 h) pathogen reductions (P < 0.05) of 1.8 to ≥2.4 log CFU/mL were observed in brines containing CPC or sodium metasilicate. Furthermore, brines formulated with lactic acid, acetic acid, citric acid, nisin + EDTA, pediocin + EDTA, CPC, sodium metasilicate, or hops beta acids had reductions (P < 0.05) in pathogen levels during storage; however, the extent of pathogen reduction (0.4 to > 2.4 log CFU/mL) depended on the antimicrobial, brine type, and storage temperature and time. These data should be useful in development or improvement of brine formulations for control of E. coli O157:H7 in moisture-enhanced meat products.
Practical Application: Results of this study should be useful to the meat industry for developing or modifying brine formulations to reduce the risk of E. coli O157:H7 in moisture-enhanced meat products.