Research – The Effect of High-Pressure Processing on the Survival of Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli in Steak Tartare: The Good- or Best-Case Scenario?



Samples of steak tartare were artificially contaminated with a cocktail of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O91, O146, O153, and O156 to the level of 3 log and 6 log CFU/g. Immediately after vacuum packing, high-pressure processing (HPP) was performed at 400 or 600 MPa/5 min. Some of the samples not treated with HPP were cooked under conditions of 55 °C for 1, 3, or 6 h. HPP of 400 MPa/5 min resulted in a 1–2 log reduction in the STEC count. In contrast, HPP of 600 MPa/5 min led to the elimination of STEC even when inoculated to 6 log CFU/g. Nevertheless, sub-lethally damaged cells were resuscitated after enrichment, and STEC was observed in all samples regardless of the pressure used. STEC was not detected in the samples cooked in a 55 °C water bath for 6 h, even after enrichment. Unfortunately, the temperature of 55 °C negatively affected the texture of the steak tartare. Further experiments are necessary to find an optimal treatment for steak tartare to assure its food safety while preserving the character and quality of this attractive product.

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