Investigation of water washes suitable for very small meat plants to reduce pathogens on beef surfaces

Sally Flowers Yoder, William R. Henning, Edward W. Mills, Stephanie Doores, Nancy Ostiguy, Catherine N. Cutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Water washing with a handheld hose was performed on beef surfaces to ascertain the most effective combination of methods needed to remove potentially harmful microorganisms. For these experiments, beef brisket surfaces were experimentally inoculated with a fecal slurry containing Escherichia coli O157: H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Campylobacter coli, and Campylobacter jejuni. In a pilot study, surfaces were washed with cold water (15°C) at various water pressures, spray distances, application times, and drip times, and remaining bacterial populations were determined following the enumeration and isolation of pathogens and naturally occurring hygiene indicators (mesophilic aerobic bacteria, coliforms, and E. coli). The most efficacious combinations of these washing conditions were applied subsequently to artificially contaminated beef brisket surfaces in conjunction with hot (77°C), warm (54°C), and additional cold (15°C) water washes. In the cold water washing pilot study, combinations of physical washing conditions significantly reduced all bacterial populations (P < 0.05). Further studies clearly indicated the superior bactericidal effectiveness of hot water washing; E. coli O157: H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium were reduced by 3.8 and 4.1 log CFU/cm2, respectively. Overall, higher water temperature, longer application times, and shorter spray distances more effectively removed pathogens from inoculated beef surfaces. These findings will be used to formulate water washing recommendations for very small meat processing establishments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-915
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


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