Inactivation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis during cooking of hamburger patties

J Food Prot. 2013 Jul;76(7):1194-201. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-474.


The role of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in Crohn's disease in humans has been debated for many years. Milk and milk products have been suggested as possible vectors for transmission since the beginning of this debate, whereas recent publications show that slaughtered cattle and their carcasses, meat, and organs can also serve as reservoirs for MAP transmission. The objective of this study was to generate heat-inactivation data for MAP during the cooking of hamburger patties. Hamburger patties of lean ground beef weighing 70 and 50 g were cooked for 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 min, which were sterilized by irradiation and spiked with three different MAP strains at levels between 10² and 10⁶ CFU/ml. Single-sided cooking with one flip was applied, and the temperatures within the patties were recorded by seven thermocouples. Counting of the surviving bacteria was performed by direct plating onto Herrold's egg yolk medium and a three-vial most-probable-number method by using modified Dubos medium. There was considerable variability in temperature throughout the patties during frying. In addition, the log reduction in MAP numbers showed strong variations. In patties weighing 70 g, considerable bacterial reduction of 4 log or larger could only be achieved after 6 min of cooking. For all other cooking times, the bacterial reduction was less than 2 log. Patties weighing 50 g showed a 5-log or larger reduction after cooking times of 5 and 6 min. To determine the inactivation kinetics, a log-linear regression model was used, showing a constant decrease of MAP numbers over cooking time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Cooking
  • Disease Reservoirs / microbiology
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Meat Products / microbiology*
  • Microbial Viability*
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / growth & development*
  • Time Factors