A commercially available microbial phosphatase test kit (Fast Contamination Indicator; FCI) was evaluated as a rapid method for estimating microbial contamination levels on beef carcass tissues. A set of actual beef carcass surface sample swabs (n = 70) was tested using the assay as a means to rapidly (10 min) monitor carcass swab sample microbial contamination. A regression equation was developed in experiment 1 and tested on an independent population. There was agreement between this assay and the conventional plating method for total aerobic mesophilic bacteria (r = 0.93). The predicted total mesophilic aerobic bacteria count generated from the fitted regression line (predicted log10 CFU/cm2 = 0.7505 × log10 FCI microbial phosphatase test values + 0.6726) showed a high correlation with actual aerobic mesophilic total counts (r = 0.88). The FCI test offers a simple and rapid method to estimate microbial contamination levels on beef carcasses.
†Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
‡Present address: Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.