Selected Chinese cinnamon, Spanish Oregano, and mustard essential oils (EOs) were used in combination with irradiation to evaluate their ability to eliminate pathogenic bacteria and extend the shelf life of medium-fat-content ground beef (23% fat). Shelf life was defined as the time when the total bacterial count reached 107 CFU/g. The shelf life of ground beef was determined for 28 days at 4°C after treatment with EOs. The concentrations of EOs were predetermined such that sensory properties of cooked meat were maintained: 0.025% Spanish Oregano, 0.025% Chinese cinnamon, and 0.075% mustard. Ground beef samples containing EOs were then packaged under air or a modified atmosphere and irradiated at 1.5 kGy. Ground beef samples (10 g) were taken during the storage period for enumeration of total mesophilic aerobic bacteria, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, total coliforms, lactic acid bacteria, and Pseudomonas. Mustard EO was the most efficient for reducing the total mesophilic aerobic bacteria and eliminating pathogenic bacteria. Irradiation alone completely inhibited the growth of total mesophilic aerobic and pathogenic bacteria. The combination of irradiation and EOs was better for reducing lactic acid bacteria (mustard and cinnamon EOs) and Pseudomonas (Oregano and mustard EOs). The best combined treatment for extending the shelf life of ground beef for up to 28 days was EO plus irradiation (1.5 kGy) and modified atmosphere packaging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science