Prerigor lean and adipose beef carcass tissues were artificially inoculated individually with stationary-phase cultures of five nonpathogenic Escherichia coli cultures that had been previously identified as surrogates for E. coli O157:H7 or a mixture of five Salmonella strains in a fecal inoculum. Each tissue sample was processed with microbial interventions comparable with those used in the meat industry. The log reductions of the E. coli isolates were generally not statistically different from the salmonellae inoculum within a specific treatment. Inoculation experiments were also conducted with ground beef stored at either 4 or −20°C. When compared with the Salmonella inoculum, at least three of the five E. coli strains survived in a manner that was not statistically different from the salmonellae. The E. coli strains and the Salmonella mixed culture were also inoculated into summer sausage batter, and the population enumerated both before and after fermentation. Four of the E. coli strains showed a lower population reduction (higher survival) than the Salmonella mixed culture. The five nonpathogenic E. coli strains may be used as individually or collectively for specific process validation indicators for Salmonella.
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