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J Food Prot. 2008 Sep;71(9):1806-16.

Evaluating the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in refrigerated ready-to-eat frankfurters: influence of strain, temperature, packaging, lactate and diacetate, and background microflora.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.


This research was conducted to study the growth of Listeria monocytogenes inoculated on frankfurters stored at different conditions as a basis for a safety-based consume by shelf life date label. Three L. monocytogenes strains were separately inoculated at 10 to 20 CFU/cm2 onto frankfurters that were previously formulated with or without high pressure and with or without added 2% potassium lactate (PL) and 0.2% sodium diacetate (SD). Inoculated frankfurters were air or vacuum packaged; stored at 4, 8, or 12 degrees C; and L. monocytogenes and psychrotrophic plate counts were determined for 90, 60, and 45 days, respectively, or until the stationary phase was reached. The data (log CFU per square centimeter versus time) were fitted using the Baranyi-Roberts model to determine maximum growth rates and lag-phase time. The maximum growth rates and the lag time under each growth condition were used to calculate the time to reach 100-fold the initial Listeria population. In frankfurters lacking PL and SD, the count of all strains increased by 2 log after 18 to 50 days at 4 degrees C and 4 to 13 days at 8 degrees C. The growth was inhibited at 4 and 8 degrees C in frankfurters containing PL and SD, but one ribotype was capable of growing, with the time to reach 100-fold the initial Listeria population ranging from 19 to 35 days at 12 degrees C. In most cases, the time to reach 100-fold the initial Listeria population of L. monocytogenes was significantly longer in vacuum-packaged frankfurters as compared with air-packaged samples. Inclusion of PL and SD also inhibited the growth of psychrotrophs, but at all temperatures the psychrotrophic plate counts were greater than 4 log CFU/cm2 at the end of the experiments. These results indicated that despite the use of antimicrobials, certain L. monocytogenes strains could be capable of growing under storage-abuse conditions. Growth kinetics data could be useful for establishing a shelf life date label protocol under different handling scenarios.

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