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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Sep;89(3):472-7.

Survival of Salmonella in peanut butter and peanut butter spread.

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  • 1Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Griffin 30223-1797, USA.


In 1996, the first documented outbreak of salmonellosis associated with the consumption of peanut butter was reported. This study was undertaken to determine survival characteristics of high (5.68 log10 cfu g(-1)) and low (1.51 log10 cfu g(-1)) inocula of a five-serotype mixture of Salmonella in five commercial peanut butters and two commercial peanut butter spreads. Populations in samples inoculated with 5.68 log10 cfu g(-1) and stored for 24 weeks at 21 or 5 degrees C decreased 4.14-4.50 log10 cfu g(-1) and 2.86-4.28 log10 cfu g(-1), respectively, depending on the formulation. The order of retention of viability was: peanut butter spreads > traditional (regular) and reduced sugar, low-sodium peanut butters > natural peanut butter. Differences in rates of inactivation are attributed to variation in product composition as well as size and stability of water droplets in the colloidal matrix, which may influence nutrient availability. With the exception of natural peanut butter, products initially inoculated with 1.51 log10 cfu of Salmonella g(-1) (32 cfu g(-1)) were positive for the pathogen after storage for 24 weeks at 5 degrees C. At 21 degrees C, however, with the exception of one peanut butter spread, all products were negative for Salmonella after storage for 24 weeks. Post-process contamination of peanut butter and spreads with Salmonella may to result in survival in these products for the duration of their shelf life at 5 degrees C and possibly 21 degrees C, depending on the formulation.

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