Ionizing radiation can be used to pasteurize ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products. Thermal processing of RTE meats that contain dextrose results in the production of antioxidants that may interfere with ionizing radiation pasteurization of RTE meat products. Beef bologna was manufactured with dextrose concentrations of 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8%. Antioxidant activity, as measured by the Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power assay, increased with dextrose concentration but was unaffected by ionizing radiation. Lipid oxidation increased significantly in irradiated bologna (4 kGy) that contained dextrose. Hunter color analysis indicated that the addition of dextrose reduced the ionizing radiation-induced loss of redness (a-value) but promoted the loss of brightness (L-value). The radiation resistance, D10-value, of Listeria monocytogenes that was surface-inoculated onto bologna slices was not affected by dextrose concentration. L. monocytogenes strains isolated from RTE meats after listeriosis outbreaks were utilized. Increased antioxidant activity generated by thermal processing of dextrose in fine emulsion sausages does not present a barrier to radiation pasteurization of RTE meats. However, a high dextrose concentration in combination with gamma irradiation increases lipid oxidation significantly.
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