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Use of Natural Ingredients To Control Growth of Clostridium perfringens in Naturally Cured Frankfurters and Hams

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A major concern for processed meats marketed as natural/organic is that they do not contain nitrite in concentrations known to be most effective for inhibiting foodborne pathogens. Supplemental treatments to increase the level and consistency of antimicrobial protection in these products may be important to provide consumers with the degree of safety that they have come to expect from conventionally cured meats. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify and test ingredients that might improve processed meat product safety without altering their natural/organic status. Eight treatments of hams and frankfurters were prepared: (A) uncured control (typical ingredients except nitrite and nitrate); (B) conventionally cured control (erythorbate, nitrite, and a lactate-diacetate blend); (C) natural nitrate cure (including starter culture containing Staphylococcus carnosus); (D) natural nitrate cure (culture and natural antimicrobial A containing a vinegar, lemon, and cherry powder blend); (E) natural nitrate cure (culture and antimicrobial B containing a cultured sugar and vinegar blend); (F) natural nitrite cure without additional antimicrobials; (G) natural nitrite cure with natural antimicrobial A; and (H) natural nitrite cure with antimicrobial B. For the hams, treatments C, D, E, and H impacted growth of Clostridium perfringens to the same extent (P < 0.05) as the conventionally cured control (approximately 2 log less growth over time than uncured control). For frankfurters, treatments D, G, and H had an effect (approximately 1 log) on growth equivalent to that of the conventionally cured control (P < 0.05). These results suggest that natural/organic cured meats have more potential for pathogen growth than conventionally cured products, but supplemental natural ingredients offer safety improvement.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA 2: Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.

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