Minced cod and pasteurized minced cod, with and without 0.5% potassium sorbate, were subjected to abusive storage temperatures of 7 and 15°C. Staphylococcus aureus FRI 100 was inoculated into the cod before storage. Total aerobic plate counts (20 and 35°C), pH changes, S. aureus counts and the presence of thermonuclease were monitored throughout the studies. With the unpasteurized minced cod, potassium sorbate caused slightly lower aerobic plate counts (at 20 and 35°C) in the 7°C study over an 11-day storage period. Psychrotrophic organisms were inhibited to a slightly greater extent than were mesophilic organisms. Inoculated S. aureus was quickly outgrown by the normal microflora without or with sorbate. Similar results were obtained at the still more abusive temperature of 15°C over a storage period of 5 d, but the inhibitory effect of sorbate was less evident. Pasteurized minced cod, inoculated with S. aureus and stored at 15°C, showed a considerable difference in growth of S. aureus with and without sorbate. Potassium sorbate resulted in a markedly slower rate of growth of the pathogen and a substantial delay of several days in production of detectable levels of thermonuclease. This delay in nuclease production is indicative of a similar delay in enterotoxin production.
1Present address: Campbell Institute, Research and Technology, Campbell Place, Camden, NJ 08101.