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Effects of Lactic Acid on the Growth Characteristics of Listeria monocytogenes on Cooked Ham Surfaces

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Abstract:

The surfaces of ready-to-eat meats are susceptible to postprocessing contamination by Listeria monocytogenes. This study examined and modeled the growth characteristics of L. monocytogenes on cooked ham treated with lactic acid solutions (LA). Cooked ham was inoculated with L. monocytogenes (ca. 103 CFU/g), immersed in 0, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, and 2.0% LA for 30 min, vacuum packaged, and stored at 4, 8, 12, and 16°C. LA immersion resulted in <0.7 log CFU/g immediate reduction of L. monocytogenes on ham surfaces, indicating the immersion alone was not sufficient for reducing L. monocytogenes. During storage, no growth of L. monocytogenes occurred on ham treated with 1.5% LA at 4 and 8°C and with 2% LA at all storage temperatures. LA treatments extended the lag-phase duration (LPD) of L. monocytogenes and reduced the growth rate (GR) from 0.21 log CFU/day in untreated ham to 0.13 to 0.06 log CFU/day on ham treated with 0.5 to 1.25% LA at 4°C, whereas the GR was reduced from 0.57 log CFU/day to 0.40 to 0.12 log CFU/day at 8°C. A significant extension of the LPD and reduction of the GR of L. monocytogenes occurred on ham treated with >1.25% LA. The LPD and GR as a function of LA concentration and storage temperature can be satisfactorily described by a polynomial or expanded square-root model. Results from this study indicate that immersion treatments with >1.5% LA for 30 min may be used to control the growth of L. monocytogenes on cooked meat, and the models would be useful for selecting LA immersion treatments for meat products to achieve desired product safety.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-412

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research Unit, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA., Email: andy.hwang@ars.usda.gov 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Residue Chemistry and Predictive Microbiology Research Unit, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA 3: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

Publication date: August 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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