The scientists examined the potential for cranberry concentrate to be used as a natural food preservative by examining its antimicrobial effect on the growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 inoculated in ground beef as well as its organoleptical effect on beef burgers.
The findings of the research, which were published in the journal Food Microbiology, indicated that cranberry concentrate at the tested concentrations did not cause significant negative impact on the flavor, taste or color of burgers and also possessed antimicrobial effects.
The application of cranberry concentrate at low concentrations in ground beef as an additional hurdle to prevent possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination has not been previously reported, claim the authors. Ground beef is a potentially hazardous food which can shelter pathogenic microorganisms and permit their growth or the production of toxins if temperature and time are not controlled, claim the authors of the study.
In the United States this year, millions of pounds of raw ground beef were recalled because of E. coli O157:H7 contamination, and the researchers stress that effective methods to prevent and eliminate such contaminations in ground beef are as such essential for the food industry and consumers.