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J Food Prot. 1998 Apr;61(4):383-9.

Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in full- and reduced-fat pepperoni after manufacture of sticks, storage of slices at 4 degrees C or 21 degrees C under air and vacuum, and baking of slices on frozen pizza at 135, 191 and 246 degrees C.

Author information

1
Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology, Food Research Institute, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Abstract

Pepperoni batter was prepared with fat contents of about 15, 20, and 32% (wt/wt) and inoculated with a pediococcal starter culture and > or = 2.0 x 10(7) CFU/g of a five-strain inoculum of Escherichia coli O157:H7. The batter was fermented at 96 degrees F (ca. 36 degrees C and 85% relative humidity (RH) to pH < or = 4.8 and then dried at 55 degrees F (ca. 13 degrees C) and 65% RH to a moisture/protein ratio of < or = 1.6:1. For storage, slices were packaged under air or vacuum and stored at 39 degrees F (ca. 4 degrees C) and 70 degrees F (ca. 21 degrees C). For baking, frozen slices were placed on retail frozen cheese pizzas that were subsequently baked at 275 degrees F (ca. 135 degrees C), 375 degrees F (ca. 191 degrees C), or 475 degrees F (ca. 246 degrees C) for 0 to 20 min. Appreciable differences related to fat levels were observed after drying; pathogen numbers decreased by 1.04, 1.31 and 1.62 log10 units in sticks prepared from batter at initial fat levels of 15, 20, and 32%, respectively. During storage, the temperature rather than the atmosphere had the greater effect on pathogen numbers, with similar viability observed among the three fat levels tested. At 70 degrees F (ca. 21 degrees C), compared to original levels, pathogen numbers decreased by > or = 5.56 and > or = 4.53 log10 units within 14 days in slices stored under air and vacuum, respectively, whereas at 39 degrees F (ca. 4 degrees C) numbers decreased by < or = 2.43 log10 CFU/g after 60 days of storage under either atmosphere. Baking, as expected, resulted in greater reductions in pathogen numbers as the temperature and/or time of baking increased. However, it was still possible to recover the pathogen by enrichment after baking frozen slices on frozen pizza at 475 degrees F (ca. 246 degrees C) for 10 min or at 375 degrees F (ca. 191 degrees C) for 15 min. The calculated D values for all three temperatures tested increased as the fat content of the batter increased from 15 to 20 to 32%. The present study confirmed that fermentation and drying were sufficient to reduce levels of E. coli O157:H7 in pepperoni sticks by < 2.0 log10 CFU/g. Storage of slices for at least 14 days at ambient temperature under air resulted in a > 5.5-log10-unit total reduction of the pathogen. Baking slices on frozen pizza for at least 15 min at 475 degrees F (ca. 246 degrees C) or 20 min at 375 degrees F (ca. 191 degrees C) was necessary to reduce pathogen numbers to below detection by both direct plating and enrichment.

PMID:
9709198
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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