Pork skin and muscle tissue were washed with water at temperatures from 25 to 80°C. Water temperatures of 65 and 80°C resulted in greater population reductions of Enterobacteriaceae on pork muscle tissue than lower water temperatures. There was no observable effect of water temperature on population reductions of Enterobacteriaceae on pork skin. Water temperatures of 55, 65, and 80°C reduced the populations of Enterobacteriaceae on inoculated scalded carcasses processed in a university abattoir by 1 to 1.5 log/cm2. Following the water wash with an organic acid rinse resulted in further numerical reductions in populations, although these were not statistically different from the water wash alone. The jowls of both scalded and skinned carcasses processed in a commercial establishment were directly inoculated with a fecal material slurry and then processed with organic acid rinsing only, hot water washing only, or a combination of hot water washing followed by organic acid rinsing. The hot water and acid treatment reduced the populations of mesophilic aerobic bacteria and Escherichia coli by approximately 2 log cycles on both scalded and skinned hog carcasses. The combined treatment resulted in 60% of the scalded carcasses and 40% of the skinned carcasses with undetectable levels of E. coli after direct fecal inoculation of the carcasses. Hot water washing followed by organic acid rinsing can significantly improve the microbiological quality of pork carcasses.

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Author notes

Journal paper No. J-19493 of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, Ames, Iowa, project No. 256557, and supported by Hatch Act and State of Iowa funds.