Sodium nitrite, sorbic acid, potassium sorbate and polyphosphates (sodium acid pyrophosphate, SAPP; sodium hexametaphosphate, SHMP; and sodium tripolyphosphate, STPP) were tested at similar preadjusted (before cooking) pH levels (in the range of pH 5.78 to 6.19 after cooking) to determine effective combinations capable of controlling Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin production in mechanically deboned chicken meat frankfurter emulsions incubated at 27°C. In combination with low levels of nitrite (40 ppm), potassium sorbate (0.26%, pH 6.06) was more effective than sorbic acid (0.20%, pH 6.03) in delaying toxin production (>27 d vs. 6 d) and in controlling growth. In formulations containing combinations of nitrite (40 ppm) and sorbic acid (0.20%) or nitrite (40 ppm) and potassium sorbate (0.26%), the addition of polyphosphates (0.4%) resulted in a greater delay of toxin production (8 to 25 d for nitrite-sorbic acid-SAPP vs. 28 d for nitrite-potassium sorbate-SAPP) at similar pH levels. Under these conditions, SAPP delayed production of detectable toxin longer (25 d) than did either SHMP (6 to 11 d) or STPP (4 to 14 d). The addition of polyphosphates to nitrite-free emulsions containing sorbic acid (0.20%) or potassium sorbate (0.26%) did not delay the development of botulinal toxin when the pH was essentially equivalent in the range of 5.78 to 6.07.

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Author notes

1Minnesota Malting Co., Cannon Falls, MN 55009.

2Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota.

3Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.