Acetate and mylar adhesive tapes were used to estimate microbial loads on surfaces of 60 red meat samples. The conventional method of excision, rinsing and blending of meat was used as a comparison. The mylar tape method was found to provide statistically significant correlation compared with the conventional method. We suggest that when the tape count is > log 2 CFU/cm2, bacterial counts are high on meat surfaces (ca. log 5–7 CFU/cm2); between log 1–2 CFU/cm2, counts are intermediate (ca. log 3–4 CFU/cm2) and < log 1 CFU/cm2, counts are low (ca. log 3 CFU/cm2). The tape method is easy to perform and requires little time and material. With multiple transfers, it may be used to evaluate counts at different incubation temperatures and on different types of agar media.

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Author notes

1Contribution No. 80-13-J, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan 66506.