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Elimination of Listeria monocytogenes from Ready-to-Eat Turkey and Cheese Tortilla Wraps Using Ionizing Radiation

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Listeria monocytogenes is a common postprocess contaminant on ready-to-eat foods including premade ready-to-eat sandwiches. One popular type of sandwich product is the tortilla wrap, which contains sliced luncheon meats and cheeses rolled within a flour tortilla. This study determined the radiation resistance of L. monocytogenes surface inoculated onto two types of commercially available wheat flour tortillas, processed cheese slices, and deli turkey meat. The D 10-values for L. monocytogenes (the radiation dose required to inactivate 1 log of the pathogen) were 0.27 kGy when inoculated onto two flour tortilla types, 0.28 and 0.30 kGy when inoculated onto two types of sliced processed cheeses, and 0.58 and 0.65 kGy when inoculated onto two types of sliced deli turkey meat. When two types of tortilla wraps were assembled from the individual components and L. monocytogenes was inoculated into the interfaces between the individual components, the D 10 -values were 0.27 to 0.37 kGy in the tortilla and cheese interfaces, 0.33 to 0.41 kGy in the cheese and turkey interfaces, and 0.25 to 0.33 kGy in the turkey and tortilla interfaces. The ability of ionizing radiation to reduce pathogen levels on the complex tortilla, cheese, and luncheon meat product was limited by the higher radiation resistance of L. monocytogenes when inoculated onto the ready-to-eat turkey-meat component.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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