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Survival of Listeria monocytogenes during Storage of Ready-to-Eat Meat Products Processed by Drying, Fermentation, and/or Smoking

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The survival of Listeria monocytogenes was evaluated on 15 ready-to-eat meat products made using drying, fermentation, and/or smoking. The products were obtained from six processors and included summer sausage, smoked cured beef, beef jerky, snack stick, and pork rind and crackling products. The water activity of the products ranged from 0.27 (pork rinds and cracklings) to 0.98 (smoked cured beef slices). Products were inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes, repackaged under either vacuum or air, and then stored either at room temperature (21°C) or under refrigeration (5°C) for 4 to 11 weeks. Numbers of L. monocytogenes fell for all products during storage, ranging from a decrease of 0.8 log CFU on smoked cured beef slices during 11 weeks under vacuum at 5°C to a decrease of 3.3 log CFU on a pork rind product stored 5 weeks under air at 21°C. All of the products tested could be produced under alternative 2 of the U. S. Department of Agriculture regulations mandating control of L. monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. For many of the products, 1 week of postprocessing storage prior to shipment would act as an effective postlethality treatment and would allow processors to operate under alternative 1 of these regulations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA 2: Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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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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