New E coli research

A report has shed new light on

E coli growth in beef - and shows that temperature changes over a set time period during the production of minced beef do not increase its growth.

A report has shed new light on E coli growth in beef - and shows that temperature changes over a set time period during the production of minced beef do not increase its growth.

Beef mince is notorious for causing illness because unless it is cooked to a high enough temperature, pathogens such as E coli as well as salmonella and listeria survive.

However, some outbreaks of E coli have been traced to processors. The research was carried outo help processors set temperature controls during mincing.

The research, published in the August issue of the Journal of Food Protection, involved keeping E coli infected beef at four different temperatures, which replicate conditions in a meat processing plant: 4.4°C, 7.2°C, 10°C and room temperature, which is between 22.2°C and 23.3°C.

The refrigerated samples were examined at intervals of four, eight, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours for E coli growth. The room-temperature samples were analysed six times at two hour intervals.

The results showed the refrigerated samples did not allow for any increase in E coli at all. Over 10°C the E coli grew, but only after 48 hours. The room-temperature samples only showed an increase in E coli after six hours, giving producers a generous time allowance in which to process their beef before any danger occurs. However, after the six hours, E coli in the room-temperature samples grew quickly.

The report said the results could be used by processors to minimise E coli growth during production.

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