Fresh western-Canadian beef delivered to an eastern-Canadian terminal (Quebec City, Qc) was evaluated for microbial contamination of carcasses (front and rear portions) and of boxed beef (heat and clip-sealed). Total microbial counts during a 12-month sampling varied from log10 values of 6.28 in front portions of carcasses to 7.10 in clip-sealed boxed beef. Lactobacillus counts were higher in clip-sealed boxed beef (6.93) than in the front portion of carcasses (4.39). Total and fecal coliform counts were much higher in vacuum-packed beef than in carcass beef (4.42 and 0.97, respectively). Microbial species isolated from carcasses and vacuum-boxed beef varied markedly, with Pseudomonas spp. as predominant in carcasses and a mixed flora of Pseudomonas spp., Lactobacilli spp. and Aeromonas spp. in vacuum-packed beef.

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