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J Food Prot. 2007 Oct;70(10):2306-12.

Controlling Listeria monocytogenes on sliced ham and turkey products using benzoate, propionate, and sorbate.

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Food Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1925 Willow Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The objective of this study was to identify concentrations of sorbate, benzoate, and propionate that prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on sliced, cooked, uncured turkey breast and cured ham. Sixteen test formulations plus a control formulation for each product type were manufactured to include potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, or sodium propionate, used alone and combined (up to 0.3% [wt/wt]), or with sodium lactate-sodium diacetate combinations. Products were inoculated with L. monocytogenes (5 log CFU/100-g package) and stored at 4, 7, or 10 degrees C for up to 12 weeks, and triplicate samples per treatment were assayed biweekly by plating on modified Oxford agar. Data showed that 0.1% benzoate, 0.2% propionate, 0.3% sorbate, or a combination of 1.6% lactate with 0.1% diacetate prevented the growth of L. monocytogenes on ham stored at 4 degrees C for 12 weeks, compared with greater than a 1-log increase at 4 weeks for the control ham without antimicrobials. When no nitrite was included in the formulation, 0.2% propionate used alone, a combination of 0.1% propionate with 0.1% sorbate, or a combination of 3.2% lactate with 0.2% diacetate was required to prevent listerial growth on the product stored at 4 degrees C for 12 weeks. Inhibition was less pronounced when formulations were stored at abuse temperatures. When stored at 7 degrees C, select treatments delayed listerial growth for 4 weeks but supported significant growth at 8 weeks. All treatments supported more than a 1-log increase in listerial populations when stored at 10 degrees C for 4 weeks. These results verify that antimycotic agents inhibit the growth of L. monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meats but aremore effective when used in combination with nitrite.

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