The objectives were to (i) compare the use of triose phosphate isomerase (TPI) activity and internal color scores for determination of cooking adequacy of beef patties and (ii) determine the effect of frozen storage and fat content on residual TPI activity in ground beef. Ground beef patties (24.4% fat) were cooked to five temperatures ranging from 60.0 to 82.2°C. TPI activity decreased as beef patty cooking temperature was increased from 60.0 to 71.1°C; however, no difference (P > 0.05) in activity (6.3 U/kg meat) was observed in patties cooked to 71.1°C and above. Degree of doneness color scores, a* values and b* values, of ground beef patties decreased as internal temperature was increased from 60.0 to 71.1°C; however, temperature had no effect on L* values. TPI activity in raw ground beef after five freeze–thaw cycles did not differ from the control. Three freeze–thaw cycles of raw ground beef resulted in a 57.2% decrease in TPI activity after cooking. TPI activity of cooked beef increased during 2 months of frozen storage, but TPI activity in ground beef stored for 3 months or longer did not differ from the unfrozen control. While past research has shown color to be a poor indicator of adequate thermal processing, our results suggest that undercooked ground beef patties could be distinguished from those that had been adequately cooked following U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines using residual TPI activity as a marker.

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