Thermal inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Sterne in irradiated ground beef heated in a water bath or cooked on commercial grills
Juneja, VK and Porto-Fett, ACS and Call, JE and Marks, HB and Tamplin, ML and Luchansky, JB, Thermal inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Sterne in irradiated ground beef heated in a water bath or cooked on commercial grills, Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 11, (1) pp. 123-129. ISSN 1466-8564 (2010) [Refereed Article]
The thermal stability of heat-shocked and non-heat-shocked spores of the virulence-attenuated Sterne strain of Bacillus anthracis was evaluated at select temperatures in irradiated, raw ground beef (25% fat) heated in a water bath or cooked using two different commercial grills. For the former, 3-g portions of inoculated ground beef were packaged in bags that were completely immersed in a temperature-controlled circulating water bath held at 65 °C (149 °F), 70 °C (158 °F), 75°(167 °F), and 80 °C (176 °F) for a predetermined length of time. For the latter, formed ground beef patties (95-g each) were inoculated with spore stock A or B of the Sterne strain and then cooked on a commercial open-flame gas grill or on a commercial clamshell electric grill to achieve target internal temperatures of either 71.1 °C (160 °F), 82.2 °C (180 °F), or 93.3 °C (200 °F). Cooking ground beef patties on commercial grills, resulted in reductions of ca. 0.8 to 3.5 log10 CFU/g for spore stocks A and B of B. anthracis Sterne after heating to 71.1 °C (160 °F), 82.2 °C (180 °F), or 93.3 °C (200 °F) on either the open-flame gas grill which required ca. 9.6 min to reach the target internal temperatures or on the clamshell electric grill which required ca. 4.0 min to reach the target internal temperatures. In comparison, our data using a water bath system and heating at 65° to 80 °C predict nearly 4 log reductions in spore levels for short times, ~1/2 min, depending possibly on the temperature. Thus, our data suggest that models based on heating ground beef in a water bath is not a good predictor of reductions of levels of spores of B. anthracis Sterne strain that would be obtained when cooking ground beef patties on commercial grills under conditions that may be typically used by consumers and/or retail establishments. Nevertheless, our data validated that cooking ground beef patties on a commercial grill at a temperature considered to be "well-done" and a temperature (71.1 °C;160 °F) recommended by the USDA/FSIS, is effective at killing spores of B. anthracis Sterne. Industrial relevance: Heating ground beef in a water bath or cooking ground beef patties on commercial grills under conditions simulating those that are used by consumers and/or that occur in retail food service establishments is effective at killing spores of B. anthracis Sterne.