Validated surrogates are a useful tool for studying the response of pathogens to food safety interventions, but better surrogates are needed for studies using high pressure processing. Ground beef (85% lean, 15% fat) was inoculated separately with mixed cultures of Escherichia coli O157, non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, nontyphoidal Salmonella, and nonpathogenic E. coli surrogate bacteria. The inoculated ground beef was subjected to high hydrostatic pressures of 200, 400, and 600 MPa for 4, 6, and 8 min at each pressure. High pressure processing at 200 MPa reduced the inoculated populations of the pathogenic bacteria by 0.9 to 1.8 log CFU/g, 400 MPa reduced the inoculated populations by 2.5 to 3.6 log CFU/g, and 600 MPa reduced the inoculated populations by 4.5 to 5.6 log CFU/g. The nonpathogenic E. coli surrogates were more resistant to the effects of high pressure processing than were the inoculated pathogen populations. This finding suggests that the nonpathogenic E. coli surrogates could be used as process control indicators for high pressure processing of ground beef to predict a specific level of pathogen reduction. The surviving populations of the potential surrogate bacteria were proportional to the surviving populations of the pathogenic bacteria. The models allow for an estimation of the potential surviving populations of the pathogenic bacteria based on quantitative results of the populations of the surrogate bacteria.
- Escherichia coli O157:H7
- High pressure processing
- Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli
- Surrogate bacteria