Acidified sodium chlorite (ASC) spray was evaluated at decreased dosages and application rates to determine its efficacy for reducing bacterial contamination on boneless beef trimmings used for production of raw ground beef products while maintaining desirable consumer qualities in the finished ground beef products. Two different applications of ASC (600 ppm applied at a rate of 1.3 oz/lb and 300 ppm applied at a rate of 1 oz/lb) were used to treat boneless beef trimmings before grinding. The effect of ASC treatment on 50/50 lean beef trimmings was greater than on 90/10 trimmings. ASC at 600 ppm reduced both the aerobic plate counts (APC) and Enterobacteriaceae counts (EBC) by 2.3 log CFU/g on 50/50 trimmings, whereas treatment with 300 ppm ASC reduced APC and EBC of 50/50 trimmings by 1.1 and 0.7 log CFU/g, respectively. Ground beef formulations of 90/10 and 73/27 were produced from the treated boneless beef trim and packaged in chubs and in modified atmosphere packaging. The efficacy of ASC spray treatment to inhibit APC and EBC over the shelf life of each ground beef product was monitored. The APC and EBC in ground beef chubs were reduced by 1.0 to 1.5 log CFU/g until day 20. The APC and EBC for products in modified atmosphere packaging were reduced 1.5 to 3.0 log CFU/g throughout their shelf life. Both decreased dosages of ASC were equally effective on 90/10 lean ground beef, but the 300 ppm ASC treatment was slightly better at reducing the EBC of 73/27 ground beef. The organoleptic qualities (color, odor, and taste) of the ground beef products treated with 300 ppm ASC were found to be superior to those treated with 600 ppm ASC. Our results indicated that decreased dosages of ASC reduce contamination and lengthen the shelf life of ground beef. Furthermore, the 300 ppm ASC treatment reduced bacterial counts while maintaining desirable organoleptic ground beef qualities.

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