Cal Poly Pomona

New Products added this month:

The Meat Science facility has created a few of new items that should satisfy even the most experienced cook. We have pulled pork available to simply put in a crock pot in the morning, ready that night. The tender pork shoulder meat can be used as pulled pork on a sandwhich or meal. It can also be used as a mexican carnitas dish. Our second item is aged fillet mignon steaks wrapped in bacon. Very, very tender and flavorful. Our current list of various fresh pork sausages include items that make great taco meat like chorizo & Al Pastor. Both of these items are made with very lean pork shoulder meat and fresh spices and flavorings. These items are currently available for sale both at the Farm Store and at the Meat Science facility.


News Items worth knowing about:


Cattle Buyers Weekly, a highly respected organization that maintains very current information on beef production, plant capacity and other industry data, has today published its annual Top 30 U.S. Beef Packers summation. Interested parties may contact CBW at 707-765-1725 if they are not a subscriber.

CBW reports that the nations top beef packers have less slaughter capacity than a year ago, and their market share also declined. Plant closures and acquisitions have made some firms smaller, and others larger. Indeed, CBW has added two new firms to its list of 30 V with daily capacity of 300 and 260 head. Tyson still leads with a daily capacity of 32,600, followed by Cargill with 29,000. For an industry in which the larger firms have steadily increased their collective capacity and market share for some years, the change in direction, however modest, will be of great interest to many people.


Recent publications in the Meat Industry:


October 16, 2006

A free new computer program, the Ground Beef Calculator, allows people to estimate dietary nutrient intakes based on ground beef products available in the marketplace. Industry may use the program information to meet labeling requirements for their products containing ground beef. To access the Ground Beef Calculator, go to



Two recent articles in Lean Trimmings describe current scientific research into the validation of time and temperature values as critical limits for E. coli O157:H7 control, but some concerned readers have pointed out the articles didn't tell the whole story. The articles, published on Aug. 14 and 28, 2006, describe research by Mann and Brashears published in the Journal of Food Protection, Volume 69, No. 8, pages 1978-1982, "Validation of time and temperature values as critical limits for the control of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the production of fresh ground beef." They stated that there was no significant increase in E. coli counts for the first six hours regardless of temperature. This is misleading.

It is true that there was no significant increase in E. coli O157:H7 and aerobic plate counts (APC) for the first 6 hours regardless of temperature (4.4, 7.2, 10.0X C, and room temperature = 22.2 to 23.3X C). However, microbial counts of the samples held at room temperature exceeded those of samples held at chilled temperatures after about 4 hours, and were significantly greater by 8 hours. In other words, temperature does have a significant effect.

For those readers who are scientifically inclined, the E. coli O157:H7 and APC counts in ground beef held at room temperature proceeded through the lag phase of their growth and entered the log phase far sooner than the refrigerated samples. Additionally, ground beef held at 10X C had significantly higher E. coli O157:H7 and APC as compared with samples at lower temperatures (4.4 and 7.2X C) by 48 and 24 hours respectively.

This is a reminder of the basic fact that lower temperatures inhibit the growth of these microorganisms. Therefore, keep meat cold!

While the authors of this research paper support holding ground beef at refrigerated temperatures and advise caution utilizing any research results without taking into consideration "all conditions encountered in a food processing environment," these important caveats need to be emphasized. The Lean Trimmings summaries appeared to indicate keeping meat at room temperatures was an acceptable procedure from a microbiological standpoint, but that simply is not the case.

Scientific knowledge and industry experience dictate raw meat must be kept under refrigerated conditions. This concept was described elegantly in classic research by John Ayres, Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1960 and has been substantiated repeatedly. (For reference: Ayres J.C., 1960. "Temperature relationships and some other characteristics of the microbial flora developing on refrigerated beef." Food Research 25:1-18. Journal Paper No. J-3605 of the Iowa Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station, Ames, IA, Project No. 1264.)


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