Effects of chilling rate on outgrowth of Clostridium perfringens spores in vacuum-packaged cooked beef and pork


Cooked, chilled beef and cooked, chilled pork were inoculated with three strains of Clostridium perfringens (NCTC 8238 [Hobbs serotype 2], NCTC 8239 [Hobbs serotype 3], and NCTC 10240). Inoculated products were heated to 75°C, held for 10 min in a circulating water bath to heat activate the spores, and then chilled by circulating chilled brine through the water bath. Samples were chilled from 54.4 to 26.6°C in 2 h and from 26.6 to 4.4°C in 5 h. Differences in initial C. perfringens log counts and log counts after chilling were determined and compared with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stabilization guidelines requiring that the chilling process allow no more than 1 log total growth of C. perfringens in the finished product. This chilling method resulted in average C. perfringens increases of 0.52 and 0.68 log units in cooked beef and cooked pork, respectively. These log increases were well within the maximum 1-log increase permitted by the USDA, thus meeting the USDA compliance guidelines for the cooling of heat-treated meat and poultry products.



Beef, Pork, Food safety, Clostridium perfringens, Vacuum-packaged