Turkey was sampled for total aerobic plate counts and coliform counts, before and after cooking, after chilled storage and after reheating in a microwave oven. Frozen turkey rolls were thawed for 48 h at 3°C. Rolls were then cooked (105, 135 and 165°C) to an internal temperature of 77°C. Cooked rolls were placed into a refrigerator operating at 1°C and chilled for 24 h. Rolls were removed from the refrigerator, sliced and refrigerated for ≤ 2 1/2 h to simulate holding conditions in a hospital cook/chill foodservice system. Slices were reheated for 30 or 40 s in a microwave oven. For the raw product, total aerobic plate counts and coliform counts ranged from 78,000 – 615,000/g and 1,600 – 38,000/g, respectively. No coliforms were found in turkey rolls following cooking and chilled storage and turkey slices reheated in a microwave oven. Cooking turkey rolls resulted in reduction of two to five orders of magnitude in total aerobic plate counts. For most trials of the experiment, counts were further reduced when turkey slices were reheated in a microwave oven. These low microbial counts may be attributed to cooking turkey rolls to an end point temperature of 77°C and storing chilled at 1°C before reheating the slices in a microwave oven.

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Author notes

1Research supported by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The turkey rolls were supplied through a contract (DAAK60-84-C-0089) with the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Natick Research and Development Center, Natick, MA. This publication represents the views of the authors and does not purport to reflect the positions of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.