Infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a major concern for human health professionals around the world. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is just one of the resistant organisms of concern. MRSA prevalence has also been recently reported in retail meat products at rates higher than originally thought. Although the risk of contracting an infection from handling contaminated meat products is thought to be low, very little is known about this organism from a food safety perspective. The objective of this study was to determine the survival of MRSA during thermal processing of frankfurters, summer sausage, and boneless ham. Frankfurters, summer sausage, and boneless ham were manufactured using formulations and processing procedures developed at the Iowa State University meat laboratory. Thermal processing resulted in a significant log reduction (p<0.05) for boneless ham, summer sausage, and frankfurters when compared to uncooked, positive controls for each of the three processed meat products. All products were thermally processed to an internal temperature of 70 C and promptly cooled to 7.2 C. Boneless ham showed the highest log reduction (7.28 logs) from cooking, followed by summer sausage (6.75 logs) and frankfurters (5.53 logs). The results of this study indicate that thermal processing of ham, summer sausage, and frankfurters to 70 C is sufficient to reduce the risk of MRSA as a potential food safety hazard.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Animal Science and Zoology