ABSTRACT

Viability of Listeria monocytogenes was monitored during refrigerated (4°C) and/or frozen (i.e., deep chilling at −2.2°C) storage on casing-cooked hams that were commercially prepared with and without potassium lactate and sodium diacetate (1.6%), buffered vinegar (2.2%), buffered vinegar and potassium lactate (1.7%), or a blend of potassium lactate, potassium acetate, and sodium diacetate (1.7%). A portion of these hams were subsequently surface treated with lauric arginate ester (LAE; 44 ppm). In phase I, hams (ca. 3.5 kg each) were sliced (ca. 0.7 cm thick, ca. 100 g), inoculated (ca. 4.0 log CFU per slice), surface treated with LAE, and stored at either 4°C for 120 days or at −2.2°C for 90 days and then at 4°C for an additional 120 days. In phase I, without antimicrobials, the population of L. monocytogenes increased by ca. 5.9 log CFU per slice within 120 days at 4°C; however, pathogen levels increased only slightly (ca. 0.45 log CFU per slice) for hams formulated with potassium lactate and sodium diacetate and decreased by ca. 1.2 log CFU per slice when formulated with the other antimicrobials. For slices held at −2.2°C and then stored at 4°C, but not treated with LAE, L. monocytogenes increased by ca. 4.5 log CFU per slice for controls, whereas when formulated with antimicrobials, pathogen levels decreased by ca. 1.4 to 1.8 log CFU per slice. For product treated with LAE, L. monocytogenes increased by ca. 4.0 log CFU per slice for controls, whereas when formulated with antimicrobials, pathogen levels decreased by ca. 0.9 to 1.9 log CFU per slice. In phase II, whole hams (ca. 1.0 kg each) containing antimicrobials were inoculated (6.8 log CFU per ham) and then stored at −2.2°C for 6 months. Pathogen levels decreased by ca. 2.0 to 3.5 log CFU per ham (without LAE treatment) and by ca. 4.2 to 5.2 log CFU per ham (with application of LAE via Sprayed Lethality in Container) when product was held at −2.2°C. In general, deep chilling hams was listericidal, and inclusion of antimicrobials in the formulation suppressed outgrowth of L. monocytogenes during extended cold storage.

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