Historically, drying meats to produce jerky was considered to be a safe preservation process and the convenience and flavor of jerky has made it a popular food product for home food preservers. Recent outbreaks of foodborne illness related to both home-dried and commercially manufactured jerky have raised concerns about the safety of the product. Some traditional home recipes and drying processes were shown to be inadequate to destroy Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes in both whole-muscle and ground-meat jerky. Several research studies have identified processes such as precooking meats before drying, using acidic marinades, cooking meats after drying, or some combination of these treatments that can destroy pathogens of concern to produce microbiologically safe and palatable meat jerky at home.

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