Prepackage Surface Pasteurization of Ready-to-Eat Meats with a Radiant Heat Oven for Reduction of Listeria monocytogenes

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In this paper, a thermal process for the surface pasteurization of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products for the reduction of Listeria monocytogenes on such products (turkey bologna, roast beef, corned beef, and ham) is described. The process involves the passage of products through a "tunnel" of heated coils on a stainless steel conveyor belt at various treatment times relevant to the manufacture of processed meat for the surface pasteurization of RTE meat products. Two inoculation procedures, dip and contact inoculation, were examined with the use of a four-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes prior to heat processing. With the use of radiant heat prepackage surface pasteurization, 1.25 to 3.5-log reductions of L. monocytogenes were achieved with treatment times of 60 to 120 s and air temperatures of 475 to 750°F (246 to 399°C) for these various RTE meats. Reduction levels differed depending on the type of inoculation method used, the type of product used, the treatment temperature, and the treatment time. Prepackage pasteurization (60 s) was also combined with postpackage submerged water pasteurization for formed ham (60 or 90 s), turkey bologna (45 or 60 s), and roast beef (60 or 90 s), resulting in reductions of 3.2 to 3.9, 2.7 to 4.3, and 2.0 to 3.75 log cycles, respectively. These findings demonstrate that prepackage pasteurization, either alone or in combination with postpackage pasteurization, is an effective tool for controlling L. monocytogenes surface contamination that may result from in-house handling.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-6055, USA 2: Department of Animal Science and Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-6055, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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