Bacterial contamination of recirculating brine used in the commercial production of moisture-enhanced pork

By Greer GG, Nattress F, Dilts B, Baker L., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe Research Centre - In a commercial process for the production of moisture-enhanced pork, boneless pork loins were conveyed through a recirculating injection apparatus, and brine (sodium phosphate, sodium chloride, and lemon juice solids) was pumped into the meat through banks of needles inserted automatically into the upper surfaces of cuts.
calendar icon 19 April 2004
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Brine samples were collected at intervals during the production process and analyzed to determine the total plate count and the numbers of lactic acid bacteria, pseudomonads, Brochothrix thermosphacta, and Enterobacteriaceae.

Listeria monocytogenes numbers in the brine were determined using a PCR with primers for the hemolysin gene in combination with a most probable numbers determination. Maximum numbers of bacteria (log CFU/ml) recovered from the brine after 2.5 h of recirculation were as follows: total plate count, 4.50; lactic acid bacteria, 2.99; pseudomonads, 3.95; B. thermosphacta, 2.79; and enterics, 3.01.

There was an increase in the number of L. monocytogenes in the recirculating brine with time, reaching a maximum of 2.34 log CFU/100 ml after 2.5 h of moisture-enhanced pork production. Thus, recirculating brines can harbor large populations of spoilage bacteria and L. monocytogenes and are an important source of contamination for moisture-enhanced pork.

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Source: PubMed - National Center for Biotechnology Information - March 2004

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