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J Food Prot. 2001 Dec;64(12):1949-55.

Antimicrobials in the formulation to control Listeria monocytogenes postprocessing contamination on frankfurters stored at 4 degrees C in vacuum packages.

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  • 1Center for Red Meat Safety, Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1171, USA.


Postprocessing contamination of cured meat products with Listeria monocytogenes during slicing and packaging is difficult to avoid, and thus, hurdles are needed to control growth of the pathogen during product storage. This study evaluated the influence of antimicrobials, included in frankfurter formulations, on L. monocytogenes populations during refrigerated (4 degrees C) storage of product inoculated (10(3) to 10(4) CFU/cm2) after peeling of casings and before vacuum packaging. Frankfurters were prepared to contain (wt/wt) sodium lactate (3 or 6%, as pure substance of a liquid, 60% wt/wt, commercial product), sodium acetate (0.25 or 0.5%), or sodium diacetate (0.25 or 0.5%). L. monocytogenes populations (PALCAM agar and Trypticase soy agar plus 0.6% yeast extract [TSAYE]) exceeded 10(6) CFU/cm2 in inoculated controls at 20 days of storage. Sodium lactate at 6% and sodium diacetate at 0.5% were bacteriostatic, or even bactericidal, throughout storage (120 days). At 3%, sodium lactate prevented pathogen growth for at least 70 days, while, in decreasing order of effectiveness, sodium diacetate at 0.25% and sodium acetate at 0.5 and 0.25% inhibited growth for 20 to 50 days. Antimicrobials had no effect on product pH, except for sodium diacetate at 0.5%, which reduced the initial pH by approximately 0.4 U. These results indicate that concentrations of sodium acetate currently permitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) (0.25%) or higher (0.5%) may control growth of L. monocytogenes for approximately 30 days, while currently permitted levels of sodium lactate (3%) and sodium diacetate (0.25%) may be inhibitory for 70 and 35 to 50 days, respectively. Moreover, levels of sodium lactate (6%) or sodium diacetate (0.5%) higher than those presently permitted by the USDA-FSIS may provide complete control at 4 degrees C of growth (120 days) of L. monocytogenes introduced on the surface of frankfurters during product packaging.

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