Microbiological Quality of Filled Pasta in Relation to the Nature of Heat Treatment

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The microbial population present in 49 samples of Italian industrially processed filled pasta was characterized and its changes during refrigerated storage were evaluated. The most frequently isolated species belonged to the genus Bacillus. No pathogenic organisms were isolated from the processed industrial pasta. As a consequence of the diversity of composition and thermal treatment a wide variability was observed (from less than 3 days to more than 1 month) in the shelf life at 4°C of the industrial "fresh filled pasta." However, the results obtained suggested that the shelf life of the processed products depended not only on the number of surviving cells but also on the textural or microstructural changes induced by the heat treatment. Challenge tests using Staphylococcus aureus showed that even pasteurization values (P 70 10, expressed as an equivalent process time, in minutes, necessary to obtain at 70°C the same lethal effect as during the actual process) not exceeding 2 were able to remarkably reduce the cell load of this organism. Subsequent growth of the surviving S. aureus cells occurred only at temperatures >7°C, particularly when the water activity (aw) values were higher than 0.97.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Protezione e Valorizzazione Agroalimentare, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Via San Giacomo 7, 40126 Bologna, Italy 2: Istituto di Produzioni e Preparazioni Alimentari, Università degli Studi di Bari (Sede di Foggia), Via Napoli 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy

Publication date: August 1, 1998

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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