Preflattened veal cutlets (ca. 71.5 g, ca. 0.32 cm thick) were surface inoculated with ca. 6.8 log CFU/g of a multistrain cocktail of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (ECOH) or a cocktail made of single strains of serogroups O26, O45, O103, O104, O111, O121, and O145 of Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC) cells and then were mechanically tenderized by passing once through a “Sir Steak” tenderizer. For each cooking time, in each of at least three trials, three inoculated and tenderized cutlets, with and without breading, were individually cooked in 15 or 30 ml of canola oil for 0.0, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, or 2.25 min per side on an electric skillet set at 191.5°C. The temperatures of the meat and of the skillet were monitored and recorded using a type J thermocouple. Regardless of the breading or volume of oil used to cook the meat, the longer the cooking times, the higher was the internal temperature of the meat, along with a greater reduction of both ECOH and STEC. The average final internal temperature of the meat at the approximate geometric center ranged from 56.8 to 93.1°C. Microbial reductions of ca. 2.0 to 6.7 log CFU/g and ca. 2.6 to 6.2 log CFU/g were achieved for ECOH and STEC, respectively. Our data also revealed no differences in thermal inactivation of ECOH relative to the volume of oil used to cook nonbreaded cutlets. However, when cooking breaded cutlets, the use of more (30 ml) compared with less (15 ml) cooking oil resulted in greater reductions in pathogen numbers. To deliver about a 5.0-log reduction of ECOH and STEC, and to achieve the recommended internal temperature of 71.1°C, it was necessary to cook mechanically tenderized veal cutlets for at least 1.5 min per side on a preheated electric skillet set at 191.5°C and containing 15 ml of cooking oil. These data also established that cooking times and temperatures effective for inactivating serotype O157:H7 strains of E. coli in tenderized veal are equally effective against the additional six non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing strains investigated herein.

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