The Feasibility of Using Household Steam Cleaners to Control Microbial Quality of Animal Carcasses in Small and Very Small Meat Processing Plants
University of Georgia
Dr. Jinru Chen
To determine the feasibility, including ease of use and cost effectiveness, of using commercially available household steam cleaners to reduce microorganism levels on beef and hog carcasses in small and very small plants.
The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase three different commercial household steam or steam/vacuum cleaning systems, designated as S1, S2, and S3 were purchased and tested in the laboratory using inoculations of E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes to determine which cleaner was most effective. The cleaning systems were chosen for size, i.e., small and compact; for ease of use by one person, i.e., portable, easy and simple to use; and, for price. The systems ranged in price from $149.99 to $1,495.00. At the conclusion of phase 1, S1 was found to be the most effective and happened to be the cheapest ($149.99).
In the second phase S1 was evaluated in four different small or very small meat processing plants. It revealed that the 180 second steam treatment using S1 significantly reduced the populations of total aerobes, coliforms, and enterobacteriaceae compared to controls.
The results of this study show a low cost, easy to use, and easy to obtain technology is available for small and very small plants to reduce the level of pathogens on the surface of meat carcasses. This research should help minimize their operating cost while helping them to ensure food safety and public health protection. Plants will, however, need to validate that their methodology achieves these parameters.
The full report on this research can be found on the Fiscal Year 2004 table under the column Food Safety Technologies - Additional Information.