With the knowledge that retail pork products may be contaminated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the risk of consumers contracting a MRSA infection or foodborne illness from processed meats, especially bacon, is uncertain. Therefore, a study was designed to investigate the survival of MRSA during heat treatment of slab bacon at a commercial process and during cooking of sliced bacon at the consumer level. Fresh pork bellies were injected with a curing solution, inoculated, and heat treated to an internal temperature of 52°C. Three commercial brands of sliced bacon with similar "sell by" dates and fat-to-lean ratios were also inoculated and cooked at a temperature of 177°C for 0, 2, and 5 min on each side. Heat-treated slab bacon showed a log reduction of 1.89, which was significant (P < 0.05) compared with an uncooked inoculated control. Cooked sliced bacon had a reduction of viable MRSA cells of >6.5 log CFU/cm2, and there was not a significant brand interaction (P > 0.05).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science