High pressure-low temperature processing of beef: effects on survival of internalized E. coli O157:H7 and quality characteristics.
High pressure-–low temperature (HPLT) processing was investigated to achieve Escherichia coli O157:H7 inactivation in non-intact, whole muscle beef while maintaining acceptable quality characteristics. Beef semitendinosus was internally inoculated with a four strain E. coli O157:H7 cocktail and frozen to − 35 °C, then subjected to 551 MPa for 4 min (HPLT). Compared to frozen, untreated control (F), HPLT reduced microbial population by 1.7 log colony forming units (CFU)/g on selective media and 1.4 log on non-selective media. High pressure without freezing (551 MPa/4 min/3 °C) increased pH and lightness while decreasing redness, cook yield, tenderness, and protein solubility. Aside from a 4% decrease in cook yield, HPLT, had no significant effects on quality parameters. It was demonstrated that HPLT treatment reduces internalized E. coli O157:H7 with minimal effect on quality factors, meaning it may have a potential role in reducing the risk associated with non-intact red meat.