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Predicting Pathogen Growth during Short-Term Temperature Abuse of Raw Sausage

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Lag-phase duration (LPD) and growth rate (GR) values were calculated from experimental data obtained using a previously described protocol (S. C. Ingham, M. A. Fanslau, G. M. Burnham, B. H. Ingham, J. P. Norback, and D. W. Schaffner, J. Food Prot. 70:1445–1456, 2007). These values were used to develop an interval accumulation-based tool designated THERM (temperature history evaluation for raw meats) for predicting growth or no growth of Salmonella serovars, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Staphylococcus aureus in temperature-abused raw sausage. Data (time-temperature and pathogen log CFU per gram) were obtained from six inoculation experiments with Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and S. aureus in three raw pork sausage products stored under different temperature abuse conditions. The time-temperature history from each experiment was entered into THERM to predict pathogen growth. Predicted and experimental results were described as growth (>0.3 log increase in CFU) or no growth (≤0.3 log increase in CFU) and compared. The THERM tool accurately predicted growth or no growth for all 18 pathogen-experiment combinations. When compared with the observed changes in log CFU values for the nine pathogen-experiment combinations in which pathogens grew, the predicted changes in log CFU values were within 0.3 log CFU for three combinations, exceeded observed values by 0.4 to 1.5 log CFU in four combinations, and were 1.2 to 1.4 log CFU lower in two combinations. The THERM tool approach appears to be useful for predicting pathogen growth versus no growth in raw sausage during temperature abuse, although further development and testing are warranted.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1605 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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