Given the news recently about yet another E. coli outbreak, you may be concerned E. coli is not just a plague in 'organically' processed and prepared vegetables but perhaps in regular steak - and you would be correct.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food safety studies have already cooked up data about the movement of E. coli into "subprimals," the meat from which top sirloin steaks are carved. Their focus is on what happens to the E. coli when subprimals are punctured-as part of being tenderized-and the effect of cooking on survival of those microbes. USDA microbiologist John B. Luchansky and colleagues are conducting experiments to help make sure that neither the foodborne pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 nor any of its pathogenic relatives will ruin your steak-grilling weekend.
Luchansky is with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), based at the agency's Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa. ARS is the USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. In early studies, the researchers applied various levels of E. coli O157:H7 to the "lean-side" surface of subprimals, ran the meat (lean side up) through a blade tenderizer, and then took core samples from 10 sites on each subprimal, to a depth of about 3 inches. In general, only 3 to 4 percent of the E. coli O157:H7 cells were transported to the geometric center of the meat. At least 40 percent of the cells remained in the top 0.4 inch.
Next, the group applied E. coli to the lean-side surface of more subprimals, put the meat through a blade tenderizer, then sliced it into steaks with a thickness of three-fourths of an inch, 1 inch, or 1.25 inches. Using a commercial open-flame gas grill, they cooked the steaks-on both sides-to an internal temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (very rare), 130 degrees F (rare), or 140 degrees F (medium rare).
The findings confirmed that if a relatively low level of E. coli O157:H7 is distributed throughout a blade-tenderized top sirloin steak, proper cooking on a commercial gas grill is effective for eliminating the microbe.
Luchansky conducted the studies with Wyndmoor colleagues Jeffrey E. Call, Bradley A. Shoyer, and Anna C.S. Porto-Fett; Randall K. Phebus of Kansas State University; and Harshavardhan Thippareddi of the University of Nebraska.
These findings were published in the Journal of Food Protection in 2008 and 2009.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Doomsday Dashboard Makes Tracking The Apocalypse Convenient
- Intellectually Gifted Kids And Learning Disabilities Often Go Hand In Hand
- 2 New Species Of Primitive Fish Discovered
- Fighting Plagiarism In Scientific Papers
- Holistically Tuned - The Brain Sees Words As Pictures, Not A Series Of Letters
- The White House Plan To Combat Antibiotic Resistance
- Climate Change Is Not Causing Extreme Winters
- " Once again, I'm wiping the tears from my eyes from the gut splitting laughter, good one!..."
- "I remember the good old days when Duck and Cover was regularly practiced, and I dutifully got under..."
- "Sure, the NRC went down the path to ruin because George W. Bush put Harry Reid's lap dog in charge..."
- "With the Republicans in charge of Congress now, we're certainly having to get used to people with..."
- "Climate change? Are you buying the misuse of language and science? When did the climate not change..."