Effect of Storage and Subsequent Reheating on Viability of Listeria monocytogenes on Pork Scrapple

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We evaluated the fate of Listeria monocytogenes on commercial pork scrapple, a regionally popular, ready-to-eat (RTE) meat. We also conducted an informal survey to address consumer practices for storing and reheating scrapple. Of the 129 consumers who responded to at least one of the eight questions posed in the survey, about half (46.4%; 52 of 112) considered scrapple RTE, the majority (69.7%; 76 of 109) stored it in the refrigerator, and all (100%; 112 of 112) preferred to reheat it prior to consumption. Most respondents (83.9%; 94 of 112) reheated the scrapple by pan frying for 1 to 10 min at medium to high temperature. To study pathogen behavior, slices of pork scrapple were surface inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes (ca. 2.0 log CFU/g), vacuum sealed, and stored for up to 60 days. Pathogen levels increased to 8.9, 9.5, and 9.9 log CFU/g after 44 (4°C), 21 (10°C), and 5 (21°C) days, respectively. When slices 1.3 cm (ca. 55 g) and 1.9 cm (ca. 85 g) thick were surface inoculated with L. monocytogenes (ca. 7.0 log CFU/g) and then reheated in a skillet (191°C) for 0.5 to 4 min per side or to target instantaneous internal temperatures of 48.9 to 71.1°C, it was possible to achieve pathogen reductions ranging from ca. 2.2 to 6.5 log CFU/g. These data confirm that in the unlikely event of postprocessing contamination of pork scrapple by L. monocytogenes, proper reheating can appreciably reduce levels of the pathogen before consumption.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware 19901, USA 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Microbial Food Safety Research Unit, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA 3: Hatfield Quality Meats, Hatfield, Pennsylvania 19440, USA 4: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Microbial Food Safety Research Unit, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA. john.luchansky@ars.usda.gov

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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