We evaluated high pressure processing to lower levels of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Listeria monocytogenes inoculated into samples of plant or beef burgers. Multistrain cocktails of STEC and L. monocytogenes were separately inoculated (∼7.0 log CFU/g) into plant burgers or ground beef. Refrigerated (i.e., 4°C) or frozen (i.e., −20°C) samples (25 g each) were subsequently exposed to 350 MPa for up to 9 or 18 min or 600 MPa for up to 4.5 or 12 min. When refrigerated plant or beef burger samples were treated at 350 MPa for up to 9 min, levels of STEC were reduced by ca. 0.7 to 1.3 log CFU/g. However, when refrigerated plant or beef burger samples were treated at 350 MPa for up to 9 min, levels of L. monocytogenes remained relatively unchanged (ca. ≤0.3-log CFU/g decrease) in plant burger samples but were reduced by ca. 0.3 to 2.0 log CFU/g in ground beef. When refrigerated plant or beef burger samples were treated at 600 MPa for up to 4.5 min, levels of STEC and L. monocytogenes were reduced by ca. 0.7 to 4.1 and ca. 0.3 to 5.6 log CFU/g, respectively. Similarly, when frozen plant and beef burger samples were treated at 350 MPa up to 18 min, reductions of ca. 1.7 to 3.6 and ca. 0.6 to 3.6 log CFU/g in STEC and L. monocytogenes numbers, respectively, were observed. Exposure of frozen plant or beef burger samples to 600 MPa for up to 12 min resulted in reductions of ca. 2.4 to 4.4 and ca. 1.8 to 3.4 log CFU/g in levels of STEC and L. monocytogenes, respectively. Via empirical observation, pressurization did not adversely affect the color of plant burger samples, whereas appreciable changes in color were observed in pressurized ground beef. These data confirm that time and pressure levels already validated for control of STEC and L. monocytogenes in ground beef will likely be equally effective toward these same pathogens in plant burgers without causing untoward effects on product color.
Pathogens were more barotolerant in plant burgers than in ground beef.
HPP treatment did not change the color of plant-sourced protein.
There were appreciable changes in color of ground beef after pressurization.