The ability of selected generally recognized as safe (GRAS) chemical preservatives to reduce populations or inhibit growth of Listeria monocytogenes on chicken luncheon meat was evaluated. Slices of luncheon meat were treated by evenly spraying onto their surfaces 0.2 ml of a solution of one of four preservatives (sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, potassium sorbate, and sodium diacetate) at one of three different concentrations (15, 20, or 25% [wt/vol]). Each slice was then surface inoculated with a five-strain mixture of 105 CFU of L. monocytogenes per ml, held at 4, 13, or 22°C, and assayed for L. monocytogenes immediately after inoculation and at 3, 7, 10, and 14 days of storage. Initial reductions of L. monocytogenes populations ranged from 0.78 to 1.32 log10 CFU g−1 at day 0 for sodium benzoate– or sodium diacetate–treated meat, whereas reductions for the sodium propionate or potassium sorbate treatments were only 0.14 to 0.36 log10 CFU g1. After 14 days of storage at 4°C, L. monocytogenes populations on all treated slices were 1.5 to 3 log10 CFU g−1 less than on the untreated slices. At 13°C and after 14 days of storage, L. monocytogenes populations were 3.5 and 5.2 log10 CFU g−1 less on luncheon meat slices treated with 25% sodium benzoate or 25% sodium diacetate, respectively, and ca. 2 log10 CFU g−1 less when treated with 25% sodium propionate or 25% potassium sorbate than on untreated control slices. Only sodium diacetate was highly inhibitory to L. monocytogenes on meat slices held at 22°C for 7 days or longer. Untreated luncheon meat held at 22°C was visibly spoiled within 10 days, whereas there was no evidence of visible spoilage on any treated luncheon meat at 14 days of storage.

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