The effects of extrusion cooking alone or in combination with electron beam radiation (3.5 kGy) on vacuum-packaged beef-based snack sticks containing beef cardiac muscle were investigated. During formulation, Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 spores were added to achieve a concentration of 4 log CFU/g. Twin-screw extrusion cooking at 72°C reduced aerobic plate counts (APCs) by 3.63 log cycles and C. sporogenes viable cell counts by 2.02 log cycles for the inoculated product. After irradiation (3.5 kGy), APCs were decreased to 1 log CFU/g when compared to 0 kGy counterparts receiving 0 kGy. Spores were not detected in irradiated inoculated samples, which contained C. sporogenes PA 3679 at levels of 3.17 to 3.50 log CFU/g after extrusion cooking.

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