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J Food Prot. 2012 Jun;75(6):1043-56. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-505.

Viability of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in delicatessen salads and hummus as affected by sodium content and storage temperature.

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Center for Food Safety and Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA.


A study was conducted to determine survival and growth behavior of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in commercially prepared mayonnaise-based potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw and in hummus (initial mean pH values were 4.80 to 4.94, 4.18 to 4.31, 3.87, and 4.50 to 4.52, respectively) as affected by sodium concentration (133 to 364, 190 to 336, 146 to 272, and 264 to 728 mg/100 g, respectively) and storage at 4 or 10°C for up to 27 days. Salmonella did not grow in any of the test products. Initial populations (2.02 to 2.38 log CFU/g) decreased in coleslaw to undetectable levels (<1 CFU/25 g) within 13 days and in most formulations of macaroni salad within 20 to 27 days. Salmonella survived in highest numbers in potato salad and hummus. The presence of added sodium in macaroni salad stored at 4°C and hummus stored at 4 or 10°C appeared to protect Salmonella against inactivation. L. monocytogenes, at an initial population of 1.86 to 2.23 log CFU/g, did not grow in test products, but with the exception of coleslaw containing sodium at a concentration used in the standard (control) recipe, this pathogen was detected by direct plating (≥ 1.0 log CFU/g) in all products stored at 4 or 10°C for 27 days. L. monocytogenes populations were significantly (P < 0.05) lower in potato salad and hummus with no added sodium than in test products with added sodium after storage at 4°C. Sodium concentration did not markedly affect aerobic plate counts over the 27-day storage period. Results confirm that the acidic pH of mayonnaise-based salads and hummus is a major factor preventing growth and influencing rates of inactivation of Salmonella and L. monocytogenes. In the absence of added sodium, death of these bacteria may be more rapid. However, in general decreasing or increasing the sodium concentration in selected delicatessen salad and hummus recipes does not markedly affect the behavior of Salmonella and L. monocytogenes when products are stored at 4 or 10°C for up to 27 days.

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