Impact of Carcass Anatomical Location on the Microbiological Profile of Beef Trimmings

Byron D. Chaves, Siroj Pokharel, Jessie L. Vipham, Alejandro Echeverry, Markus F. Miller, Mindy M. Brashears

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 403-408, Nov 2017

Volume 37, Issue 6: Pages 403–408

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This study was conducted to determine the impact of carcass anatomical location on the microbiological profile of beef trimmings. A total of 375 chuck (24–30% fat), heel (5–10% fat), shank (5–10% fat), and sparse lean (> 70% fat) trim samples representing several carcass locations were collected at a large beef fabrication facility in the Midwestern U.S. on five non-consecutive days (morning, midday, and evenings production shifts) during the fall/winter season of 2015/2016. For each sample, aerobic (AC), coliform (CC), and Escherichia coli (EC) counts were estimated using 3M™ Petrifilms. AC were significantly higher (P < 0.01) on chuck trimmings (2.00 ± 0.75 log10 CFU/cm2) than on heel, shank, or sparse lean trim (1.24 ± 0.74, 1.23 ± 0.83, and 1.43 ± 0.75 log10 CFU/cm2, respectively). All CC and EC were under the limit of quantification (< 10 CFU/cm2). Production shift had no effect on aerobic bacteria counts, and surface fat content (used as a proxy for carcass location) was a poor predictor of AC on beef trim. These results indicate that beef trimmings collected from different carcass locations with varying surface fat contents do not have significantly different microbiological profiles. The differences observed (0.57–0.77 log10 CFU/cm2) in AC may not be of practical significance for food safety and quality.

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