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J Food Prot. 2017 Oct;80(10):1697-1704. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-096.

Effects of Nitrite and Erythorbate on Clostridium perfringens Growth during Extended Cooling of Cured Ham.

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1 Food Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1550 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.
2 Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1805 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


To control the growth of Clostridium perfringens in cured meat products, the meat and poultry industries commonly follow stabilization parameters outlined in Appendix B, "Compliance Guidelines for Cooling Heat-Treated Meat and Poultry Products (Stabilization)" ( U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service [USDA-FSIS], 1999 ) to achieve cooling (54.4 to 4.4°C) within 15 h after cooking. In this study, extended cooling times and their impact on C. perfringens growth were examined. Phase 1 experiments consisted of cured ham with 200 mg/kg ingoing sodium nitrite and 547 mg/kg sodium erythorbate following five bilinear cooling profiles: a control (following Appendix B guidelines: stage A cooling [54.4 to 26.7°C] for 5 h, stage B cooling [26.7 to 4.4°C] for 10 h), extended stage A cooling for 7.5 or 10 h, and extended stage B cooling for 12.5 or 15 h. A positive growth control with 0 mg/kg nitrite added (uncured) was also included. No growth was observed in any treatment samples except the uncured control (4.31-log increase within 5 h; stage A). Phase 2 and 3 experiments were designed to investigate the effects of various nitrite and erythorbate concentrations and followed a 10-h stage A and 15-h stage B bilinear cooling profile. Phase 2 examined the effects of nitrite concentrations of 0, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 200 mg/kg at a constant concentration of erythorbate (547 mg/kg). Results revealed changes in C. perfringens populations for each treatment of 6.75, 3.59, 2.43, -0.38, -0.48, and -0.50 log CFU/g, respectively. Phase 3 examined the effects of various nitrite and erythorbate concentrations at 100 mg/kg nitrite with 0 mg/kg erythorbate, 100 with 250, 100 with 375, 100 with 547, 150 with 250, and 200 with 250, respectively. The changes in C. perfringens populations for each treatment were 4.99, 2.87, 2.50, 1.47, 0.89, and -0.60 log CFU/g, respectively. Variability in C. perfringens growth for the 100 mg/kg nitrite with 547 mg/kg erythorbate treatment was observed between phases 2 and 3 and may have been due to variations in treatment pH and NaCl concentrations. This study revealed the importance of nitrite and erythorbate for preventing growth of C. perfringens during a much longer (25 h) cooling period than currently specified in the USDA-FSIS Appendix B.


Clostridium perfringens; Cooling; Sodium erythorbate; Sodium nitrite

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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