Contamination of ready-to-eat foods, such as frankfurters, with Listeria monocytogenes, is a major concern that needs to be addressed in order to enhance the safety of these products. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of combinations of antimicrobials included in the formulation of frankfurters against L. monocytogenes inoculated (103 to 104 CFU/cm2) on their surface after peeling and before vacuum packaging. In addition, the antilisterial effect of immersing the packaged products, prepared with or without antimicrobials, in hot (75 or 80°C) water for 30 to 90 s was evaluated. Samples were stored at 4°C for up to 120 days and periodically analyzed for pH and for microbial growth on tryptic soy agar plus 0.6% yeast extract (TSAYE) and PALCAM agar. Sodium lactate (1.8%; 3% of a 60% commercial solution) used alone inhibited growth of L. monocytogenes for 35 to 50 days, whereas when used in combination with 0.25% sodium acetate, sodium diacetate, or glucono-δ-lactone (GDL), sodium lactate inhibited growth throughout storage (120 days). Immersing packaged frankfurters in hot water (80°C, 60 s) reduced inoculated populations of L. monocytogenes by 0.4 to 0.9 log CFU/cm2 and reduced its growth by 1.1 to 1.4 log CFU/cm2 at 50 to 70 days of storage in samples containing 1.8% sodium lactate alone. However, immersion of frankfurters containing no antimicrobials in hot water (75 or 80°C) did not inhibit growth of the pathogen for more than 10 to 20 days, unless one frankfurter was placed per bag and heat treated for 90 s. These results indicate that the inclusion of 1.8% sodium lactate with 0.25% sodium acetate, sodium diacetate, or GDL in cured meat formulations may control L. monocytogenes growth during refrigerated (4°C) storage. Additional studies are required to evaluate the effects of these combinations at abusive temperatures of storage, as well as on additional processed meat formulations and on the sensory quality and shelf life of products.

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