Yersinia enterocolitica, a foodborne pathogen, can be eliminated from meat by ionizing radiation. Y. enterocolitica sometimes contains a 70-kb virulence plasmid that encodes genes for a type III secretion channel and host immune suppression factors. The radiation resistance of virulence plasmid-containing and plasmid-less Y. enterocolitica was determined. Four Y. enterocolitica serotypes containing (i) the large virulence plasmid, and (ii) their plasmid-less derivatives were inoculated into raw ground pork, which was then vacuum packed and irradiated at 4°C to doses of 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, and 1.0 kGy. The D10-value, the radiation dose required to reduce the number of viable Y. enterocolitica by 90%, was not dependent on the presence or absence of the virulence plasmid, but it did differ among the four Y. enterocolitica serotypes.

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