Sixty, seventy and ninety-day-old country cured hams were used to evaluate potassium sorbate as a fungistatic agent during aging and holding for market. A 1-min spray of 5% (w/v) potassium sorbate offered the lowest effective level for inhibition of fungal growth. Mold and yeast colony counts 30 days post-treatment were significantly lower than initial numbers but protection was lost by the 60th day under conditions conducive to fungal outgrowth (21 ± 5 C and 70 ± 5% relative humidity). Greater mold inhibition was noted when a 10% potassium sorbate spray was used under identical conditions. Less than 65% relative humidity inhibited mold growth on 120-day-old ham slices held at 7 C. Mold and yeast counts tended to be lower on hams treated after 60 days of processing than on hams treated after 90 days of processing. Residual concentrations of sorbic acid required to inhibit mold growth and yield an acceptable ham after 30 days storage were within the limit approved by the Food and Drug Administration for other food products.

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Author notes

1Present address: Route 3, Box 107, Bowling Green, KY 42101

2P.O. Box 130, 2105 Independence Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64124

3ITT Gwaltney Inc., P.O. Box 489, Smithfield, VA 23430