Eight brands of smokeless tobacco, including 4 scrap, 2 plug, and 2 snuff varieties were examined. Their ability to support microbial growth over a 14-day period at 30°C was determined. The pH of the products ranged from 4.8 to 8.5 and water activity from 0.48 to 0.81. The bacterial level was 1.0 × 104 to 1.9 × 106, depending on the variety sampled. These levels varied little over the storage period. Use of inoculated samples demonstrated that chewing tobacco provided an unfavorable growth environment for either Penicillium expansum or Aspergillus flavus. Levels decreased from a initial 105/g to 102/g of tobacco. These data indicate that chewing tobacco, as marketed, is a microbiologically stable product.

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