Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Drs. Kelly Getty, E.A.E. Boyle, M.N. Roberts, and S.M. Lonneker
- Phase 1: Development of a survey tool and collection of information relative to manufacturing equipment, processing techniques, ingredients and end item characteristics typical of jerky products produced by small and very small manufacturers primarily located in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
- Phase 2: Determine the effects of typical thermal processing temperatures and times on reducing E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in chopped and formed beef jerky.
Phase 1: The information from the survey indicated that small processors of jerky have widely varied processing parameters/methods. Variables included processing time and temperature, processing environment relative humidity and method employed to control humidity. These extremes in thermal processing provided useful baselines under which to proceed with lethality studies. It was also found that there are limited means to incorporate humidity into their smokehouses. In addition, although processors stated various product parameters (salt, pH and water activity levels), these levels were inconsistent with the researchers testing results of their jerky products. The results indicate a need to educate small processors about jerky processing parameters and the need to have routine analysis of their products.
Phase 2: Several preliminary (small research) studies were conducted to develop jerky processing parameters, a process schedule, and inoculation procedures for incorporating microorganisms into raw jerky batter. These preliminary studies did not measure the lethality of the process. These studies were not designed for obtaining process validation information, i.e., results should not be used as verification or validation information for determining lethality of jerky processing schedules.
This study reinforced the high variability of processing times and temperatures, processing environment relative humidity, and methods to control humidity being used by small and very small plants. In addition, it demonstrated the need to educate small and very small meat and poultry plants that make jerky about jerky processing parameters and the need for routine analysis of their products. This research information should decrease their operating cost while helping them ensure food safety and public health protection.
The full report on this research can be found on the Fiscal Year 2004 table under the column Food Safety Technologies - Additional Information.