The fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella typhimurium during preparation and storage of beef jerky was determined. Control strips and one-half of the inoculated beef loin strips were marinated at 4°C overnight and dried at 60°C (140°F) for 10h. The remaining half of the inoculated samples were heated in marinade to 71.1°C (160°F). Strips were dried at 60°C (140°F) for 10 h. Microbial populations were determined at intervals during drying up to 10 h and also from samples stored at 25°C for 8 weeks at various moisture levels. In general, L. monocytogenes was more resistant to the treatments. After 3 h of drying, populations on the unheated, inoculated samples were reduced by 3.3, 1.8 and 3.1 log units, respectively, and all three were reduced by 5.5 to 6.0 log units after 10h. Reduction of the three populations on strips that were cooked prior to drying was 4.5 to 5.5 log units immediately after cooking. The populations decreased to undetectable levels after 10 h of drying. None of the three pathogens were detected on the controls. After 8 weeks of storage none of the pathogens were detected, indicating that they were unable to recover under the moisture conditions during storage.

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