Thermal process with additional drying provides proper lethality for controlling pathogens during jerky production



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Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service


The New Mexico Department of Health linked salmonellosis to beef jerky in 2003 after 26 individuals became ill; this prompted a recall of nearly 21,600 lb of product. Following this incident, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service instituted the Compliance Guideline for Meat and Poultry Jerky Produced by Small and Very Small Plants in 2004 and updated this document in 2007 with the Quick Guide on Jerky Processing. The Quick Guide states that water activity for jerky products should be ≤ 0.85 for safety and a moisture-to-protein ratio (MPR) must be ≤ 0.75:1 for product to be labeled as jerky. Small meat processing businesses that produce jerky products must validate that their processes achieve a ≥ 5-log reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and a ≥ 6.5-log reduction of Salmonella spp. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine effects of a worst-case scenario thermal processing schedule on reducing E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. in chopped and formed beef jerky.



Beef, Cattle, Jerky Products