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Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes Using Natural Antimicrobials in No-Nitrate-or-Nitrite-Added Ham

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Consumer demand for foods manufactured without the direct addition of chemical preservatives, such as sodium nitrite and organic acid salts, has resulted in a unique class of “naturally” cured meat products. Formulation with a natural nitrate source and nitrate-reducing bacteria results in naturally cured processed meats that possess traits similar to conventionally cured meats. However, previous research has shown that the naturally cured products are more susceptible to pathogen growth. This study evaluated Listeria monocytogenes growth on ham manufactured with natural curing methods and with commercially available clean-label antimicrobials (cultured sugar and vinegar blend; lemon, cherry, and vinegar powder blend) and assessed impacts on physicochemical characteristics of the product. Hams made with either of the antimicrobials supported L. monocytogenes growth similar to that in the traditionally cured control (P > 0.05). Hams made with prefermented celery juice powder had the lowest residual nitrite concentrations (P < 0.05), and when no antimicrobial was added, L. monocytogenes growth was similar to that of the uncured control (P > 0.05). Aside from residual nitrite and nitrate concentrations, few physicochemical differences were identified. These findings show that ham can be produced with natural curing methods and antimicrobials to provide similar L. monocytogenes inhibition and physicochemical traits as in traditionally cured ham.

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 3: Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA; National Center of Meat Quality and Safety Control, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, People's Republic of China

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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