A study was conducted to develop a preservative treatment capable of the Food and Drug Administration–mandated 5-log reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 populations in apple cider. Unpreserved apple cider was treated with generally recognized as safe acidulants and preservatives before inoculation with E. coli O157:H7 in test tubes and subjected to mild heat treatments (25, 35, and 45°C) followed by refrigerated storage (4°C). Fumaric acid had significant (P < 0.05) bactericidal effect when added to cider at 0.10% (wt/vol) and adjusted to pH 3.3, but citric and malic acid had no effect. Strong linear correlation (R2 = 0.96) between increasing undissociated fumaric acid concentrations and increasing log reductions of E. coli O157:H7 in apple cider indicated the undissociated acid to be the bactericidal form. The treatment that achieved the 5-log reduction in three commercial ciders was the addition of fumaric acid (0.15%, wt/vol) and sodium benzoate (0.05%, wt/vol) followed by holding at 25°C for 6 h before 24 h of refrigeration at 4°C. Subsequent experiments revealed that the same preservatives added to cider in flasks resulted in a more than 5-log reduction in less than 5 and 2 h when held at 25 and 35°C, respectively. The treatment also significantly (P < 0.05) reduced total aerobic counts in commercial ciders to populations less than those of pasteurized and raw ciders from the same source (after 5 and 21 days of refrigerated storage at 4°C, respectively). Sensory evaluation of the same ciders revealed that consumers found the preservative-treated cider to be acceptable.

This content is only available as a PDF.