Abstract: This study evaluated the effects of peroxyacetic acid (PAA), malic acid (MA), octanoic acid (OA), and potassium lactate (KL) followed by mixing with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and an ultra-chilled CO2 snow shower on microbial counts of Escherichia coli (EC), coliform (CF), aerobic plate count (APC), and Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) on inoculated beef trimmings and the instrumental color attributes of the resultant ground beef. Beef trimmings inoculated with EC and ST were treated with either 0.02% PAA; 2% MA; 0.04% OA; or 2% KL, followed by mixing with 10% TSP and rapid chilling with CO2 snow shower. Treated trimmings were then ground, packaged, displayed under simulated retail conditions, and sampled on days 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 for microbial counts and instrumental color characteristics. PAA, MA, OA, and KL reduced (P < 0.05) the microbial counts of EC, CF, APC, and ST during display. Among treatments, OA was most effective on EC, CF, ST, and APC during retail display. Chilling beef trimmings with CO2 improved instrumental color characteristics of the produced ground beef but made little difference in reducing microbial counts during display. During retail display, ground beef produced from beef trimmings treated with antimicrobials tended to maintain redness, myoglobin redox form stability (630 nm/580 nm), and overall instrumental color characteristics.
Practical Application: This research provides a practical and cost-effective decontamination technology for beef processors that can be immediately implemented in the ground beef production chain. Using antimicrobial intervention coupled with rapid chilling could benefit the meat industry by preserving the quality attributes of ground beef during retail display under aerobic packaging environment.