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J Food Prot. 2004 Dec;67(12):2698-702.

Survival of Listeria monocytogenes during storage of ready-to-eat meat products processed by drying, fermentation, and/or smoking.

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Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The survival of Listeria monocytogenes was evaluated on 15 ready-to-eat meat products made using drying, fermentation, and/or smoking. The products were obtained from six processors and included summer sausage, smoked cured beef, beef jerky, snack stick, and pork rind and crackling products. The water activity of the products ranged from 0.27 (pork rinds and cracklings) to 0.98 (smoked cured beef slices). Products were inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes, repackaged under either vacuum or air, and then stored either at room temperature (21degrees C) or under refrigeration (5 degrees C) for 4 to 11 weeks. Numbers of L. monocytogenes fell for all products during storage, ranging from a decrease of 0.8 log CFU on smoked cured beef slices during 11 weeks under vacuum at 5 degrees C to a decrease of 3.3 log CFU on a pork rind product stored 5 weeks under air at 21degrees C. All of the products tested could be produced under alternative 2 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations mandating control of L. monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. For many of the products, 1 week of postprocessing storage prior to shipment would act as an effective postlethality treatment and would allow processors to operate under alternative I of these regulations.

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