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J Food Prot. 2001 Aug;64(8):1156-61.

Validation of a manufacturing process for fermented, semidry Turkish soudjouk to control Escherichia coli O157:H7.

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Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


Two soudjouk batters were prepared from ground beef (20% fat) and nonmeat ingredients and inoculated with a five-strain mixture of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to yield an initial inoculum of 7.65 log10 CFU/g. One batter contained a commercial-starter culture mixture (approximately 8.0 log10 CFU/g) and dextrose (1.5%), while the other batter relied upon a natural fermentation with no added carbohydrate. Following mixing, sausage batters were held at 4 degrees C for 24 h prior to stuffing into natural beef round casings. Stuffed soudjouk sticks were fermented and dried at 24 degrees C with 90 to 95% relative humidity (RH) for 3 days and then at 22 degrees C with 80 to 85% RH until achieving a product moisture level of approximately 40%. After fermentation and drying with an airflow of 1 to 1.5 m/s, the sticks were either not cooked or cooked to an instantaneous internal temperature of 54.4 degrees C (130 degrees F) and held for 0, 30, or 60 min. The sticks were then vacuum packaged and stored at either 4 or 21 degrees C. For each of three trials, three sticks for each treatment/batter were analyzed for numbers of E. coli O157:H7 after inoculation, after fermentation, after cooking, and after storage for 7, 14, 21, and 28 days. Reductions in numbers of E. coli O157:H7 after fermentation and drying for sticks fermented by the starter culture (pH 4.6) and for sticks naturally fermented (pH 5.5) were 1.96 and 0.28 log10 CFU/g, respectively. However, cooking soudjouk sticks produced with a starter culture and holding at 54.4 degrees C for 0, 30, or 60 min reduced pathogen numbers from an initial level after fermentation and drying of 5.69 log10 CFU/g to below a detectable level by either direct plating (<1.0 log10 CFU/g) or by enrichment. In contrast, cooking soudjouk sticks produced without an added starter culture decreased pathogen numbers from an initial level after fermentation and drying of 7.37 to 5.65 log10 CFU/g (54.4 degrees C, no hold), 5.04 log10 CFU/g (54.4 degrees C, 30 min hold), and 4.67 log10 CFU/g (54.4 degrees C, 60 min hold). In general, numbers of E. coli O157:H7 within both groups of soudjouk sticks decreased faster during storage at 21 degrees C compared to 4 degrees C. After 28 days of storage, total reductions in pathogen numbers in soudjouk sticks produced using a starter culture but that were not subsequently cooked were 7.65 and 3.93 log10 CFU/g at 21 and 4 degrees C, respectively. For naturally fermented soudjouk, total reductions varied from 4.47 to 0.45 log10 CFU/g, depending on the cooking time and storage temperature. These data provide guidelines for manufacturers of dry sausage of ethnic origin, including soudjouk, to assess the safety of their processes for control of E. coli O157:H7.

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