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Evaluation of the Microbiological Status of Raw Beef in Korea: Considering the Suitability of Aerobic Plate Count Guidelines
Korean J. Food Sci. An. 2018;38:43-51
Published online February 28, 2018
© 2018 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources

Hye-Jin Kim1, Dongwook Kim1, Hee-Jin Kim1, Sung-Ok Song2, Young-Han Song3, and Aera Jang1*

1Department of Animal Products and Food Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
2Consumer Risk Prevention Bureau, Laboratory Audit & Policy Division, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Osong 28159, Korea
3Division of Animal Resource Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
Correspondence to: Aera Jang
Department of Animal Products and Food Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
Tel: +82-33-250-8643
Fax: +82-33-251-7719
Received September 2, 2017; Revised November 26, 2017; Accepted December 11, 2017.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
This study was conducted to analyze the microbiological contamination status of raw beef distributed in Korea, and evaluate the suitability of current aerobic plate count (APC) guidelines. We analyzed five years (2010-2014) of microbiological monitoring data obtained from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and investigated the microbiological status of raw beef collected from meat packing centers and meat shops in the Seoul/Gyeonggi, Gangwon, and Chungcheong regions in August 2015. From 2010-2014, most raw beef (>94%) displayed APC levels of < 1.0 × 106 CFU/g. However, raw beef samples collected from all three regions in August 2015 had comparatively higher APC levels than those reported in previous years. To evaluate the relationship between the APC level and quality, changes in beef loin were evaluated during cold storage for 15 days at 4°C. On day 11, the mean APC level (4.7 × 106 CFU/g) conformed to current guidelines in Korea (1.0 × 107 CFU/g) and the pH value was 5.82. However, the sensory evaluation score for color and overall acceptability was under 3.0, meaning that the beef loin was not acceptable for eating. These results suggest that current APC guideline for raw beef should be lowered to 1.0 × 106 CFU/g to improve both the microbiological safety and palatability of raw beef.
Keywords : aerobic plate count, beef, microbiological guidelines, monitoring, sensory evaluation

February 2018, 38 (1)