A central composite second-order response surface design was employed to determine the influences of added sodium chloride (0.8 to 3.6%), sodium diacetate (0 to 0.2%), potassium lactate syrup (0.25 to 9.25%), and finished-product moisture (45.5 to 83.5%) on the predicted growth rate of Listeria monocytogenes in cured ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products. Increased amounts of both sodium diacetate (P < 0.11) and potassium lactate (P < 0.001) resulted in significant reductions in the growth rate constants of L. monocytogenes. Increased finished-product moisture (P < 0.11) significantly increased growth rate constants. The influence of sodium chloride was not statistically significant. The second-order statistical factor for lactate was significant (P < 0.01), but all two-way interactions were not. In general, predicted growth rates exceeded actual growth rates obtained from inoculation studies of four cured RTE meat products (wieners, smoked-cooked ham, light bologna, and cotto salami). The final model will be useful to food technologists in determining formulations that will result in finished cured RTE meat products in which L. monocytogenes is not likely to grow.

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Author notes

Present address: Kraft Foods, Inc., Madison, WI 53707, USA.

Present address: Kraft Foods, Inc., Glenview, Illinois.