Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) serotypes in veal have recently been recognized as a problem. Because hides are considered to be the principal source of EHEC and hide interventions have been shown to be very efficacious in the control of EHEC in beef processing plants, various hide-directed intervention strategies have been implemented in several veal processing plants to mitigate contamination. We evaluated the effectiveness of three different hide interventions used at veal processing plants: A, a water rinse followed by a manual curry comb of the hide; B, application of 200 ppm of chlorine followed by a hot water rinse; and C, a 5-min treatment with chlorine foam followed by a rinse with 180 to 200 ppm of acidified sodium chlorite. The levels of total aerobic bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, coliforms, and E. coli, as well as the prevalence of Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and non-O157 EHEC, were determined on hides pre- and postintervention. Interventions A, B, and C reduced indicator organisms (P < 0.05) by 0.8 to 3.5 log CFU, 2.1 to 2.7 log CFU, and 1.0 to 1.5 log CFU, respectively. No Salmonella was detected on hides prior to intervention. E. coli O157:H7 prevalence was observed at only one plant, so comparison was not possible. Other non-O157 EHECs (O26, O103, and O111) were observed for all interventions studied. Interventions A and B reduced culture-confirmed non-O157 EHEC by 29 and 21%, respectively, whereas intervention C did not reduce non-O157 EHEC. Our results show that the most effective veal hide intervention for reducing indicator organisms and EHECs was the application of 200 ppm of chlorine followed by hot water rinse. These data provide options that veal processors can consider in their EHEC control program.

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