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Growth of Listeria monocytogenes in Different Retail Delicatessen Meats during Simulated Home Storage

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Abstract:

Delicatessen meats are reported to be the leading vehicle of foodborne listeriosis in the United States. Listeria monocytogenes can reach high numbers in these products during storage, and the growth rate is largely dictated by product formulation and storage temperature. To assess the impact of product age on Listeria growth, five commercial brands each of cured and uncured turkey breast, ham, and roast beef (three lots per brand) were sliced (approximately 25 g per slice) at the beginning of the shelf life, the midpoint, and the last allowable day of sale, surface inoculated with an eight-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes (approximately 40 CFU/g), and then quantitatively examined for Listeria, lactic acid bacteria, and mesophilic aerobic bacteria during aerobic storage at 4, 7, or 10°C. As expected, L. monocytogenes grew faster in deli meats without rather than with Listeria inhibitors (lactate and/or diacetate) and at the highest storage temperature (10°C). Lag-phase durations for L. monocytogenes in deli meats with and without Listeria inhibitors were 9.21, 6.96, and 5.00 and 6.35, 3.30, and 2.19 days at 4, 7, and 10°C, respectively. Generation times for L. monocytogenes in deli meats with and without Listeria inhibitors were 1.59, 1.53, and 0.85 and 0.94, 0.50, and 0.36 at 4, 7, and 10°C, respectively. Maximum population densities for L. monocytogenes in deli meats with and without Listeria inhibitors were 5.26, 5.92, and 5.97 and 8.47, 8.96 and 9.34 log CFU/g at 4, 7, and 10°C, respectively. Although lactate and diacetate suppressed L. monocytogenes growth, the extent of inhibition differed, ranging from total inhibition in roast beef to only partial inhibition in ham and cured turkey. Listeria growth was also impacted by lot-to-lot variation in the concentrations of Listeria inhibitors, product pH, and background microflora. These data will be useful for developing recommendations for “best consumed by” dating for deli meats using a risk-based approach.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-491

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA 2: Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA 3: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA, National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA;, Email: ryser@msu.edu

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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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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