The ability of Listeria monocytogenes to survive in skim milk during spray drying and to persist in nonfat dry milk during storage was examined. Concentrated (30% solids) and unconcentrated skim milks were inoculated with ca. 105 to 106 L. monocytogenes/ml and spray dried (inlet temperature, 165 ± 2°C; outlet temperature 67 ± 2°C) to a moisture content of 3.6 to 6.4%. The nonfat dry milk was packaged in moisture-resistant film and stored at 25°C for up to 16 wk. A reduction of ca. 1 to 1.5 log10 L. monocytogenes/g occurred during the spray drying process, irrespective of whether the milk was concentrated or not before spray drying. The organism progressively died during storage at 25°C, with a >4-log10 CFU/g decrease occurring within 16 wk of storage.

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