Seven rapid analytical tests (color value, thiobarbituric acid number, extract release volume, pH, “tyrosine” value, pHt, and redox potential) were evaluated as possible indicators of bacterial contamination in intact meat. Color value is a reflectance value related to hedonic acceptance of the meat. Comparisons of results from these seven tests with determination of bacterial load (plate count) and with time of storage were analyzed statistically to determine the relative contributions of bacterial action and of intrinsic reactions. The color values and “tyrosine” values were the most effect monitors of bacterial contamination. Although the thiobarbituric acid test effectively monitored changes in meat quality, it was not specific for those produced by bacteria. The remaining tests were ineffective under conditions employed.

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Author notes

1Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.