The need for gnotoxenic studies (defined microflora) in beef to better understand the microbial ecology of spoilage and pathogenic organisms necessitates the development of a simple and rapid method devoid of obvious disadvantages of existing ones. The aseptic technique described here is an improvement on the flaming and hot-iron searing methods already in use. It involved the use of a Sensa-Temp Heat Control Electric Frier (West Bend, IN) at 232°C to destroy practically all surface microflora on top round meat blocks of freshly slaughtered, healthy beef cattle, before aseptically removing the cooked exterior to a depth of approximately 1 cm. In two separate trials, 95 and 90%, respectively, of the total number of samples removed were sterile. We recommend this method to procure sterile samples suitable for inoculation with defined microflora and for other studies. The method seems applicable to a wide variety of muscle food types, including fish.

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Author notes

1 Approved for publication by the Director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station as manuscript No. 92-21-6237.

2 Food Microbiology Laboratory, Department of Applied Biochemistry and Food Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Nottingham. Sutton-Bonington Campus, Loughborough, Leics, LE12 5RD, United Kingdom.

3 Department of Animal Science, Louisiana State University.

4 Department of Food Science, Louisiana State University.