Abstract: The decontamination efficacy of 6 chemical treatments for beef trimmings were evaluated against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and 6 non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (nSTEC) serogroups. Rifampicin-resistant 4-strain mixtures of E. coli O157:H7 and nSTEC serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 were separately inoculated (3 to 4 log CFU/cm2) onto trimmings (10 × 5 × 1 cm; approximately 100 g) fabricated from beef chuck rolls, and were immersed for 30 s in solutions of acidified sodium chlorite (0.1%, pH 2.5), peroxyacetic acid (0.02%, pH 3.8), sodium metasilicate (4%, pH 12.5), Bromitize® Plus (0.0225% active bromine, pH 6.6), or AFTEC 3000 (pH 1.2), or for 5 s in SYNTRx 3300 (pH 1.0). Each antimicrobial was tested independently together with an untreated control. Results showed that all tested decontamination treatments were similarly effective against the 6 nSTEC serogroups as they were against E. coli O157:H7. Irrespective of pathogen inoculum, treatment of beef trimmings with acidified sodium chlorite, peroxyacetic acid, or sodium metasilicate effectively (P < 0.05) reduced initial pathogen counts (3.4 to 3.9 log CFU/cm2) by 0.7 to 1.0, 0.6 to 1.0, and 1.3 to 1.5 log CFU/cm2, respectively. Reductions of pathogen counts (3.1 to 3.2 log CFU/cm2) by Bromitize Plus, AFTEC 3000, and SYNTRx 3300 were 0.1 to 0.4 log CFU/cm2, depending on treatment. Findings of this study should be useful to regulatory authorities and the meat industry as they consider nSTEC contamination in beef trimmings.
Practical Applications: Findings of this study should be useful to: (i) meat processors as they design and conduct studies to validate the efficacy of antimicrobial treatments to control pathogen contamination on fresh beef products; and (ii) regulatory agencies as they consider approaches for better control of the studied pathogens.