The safety of ready-to-eat meat products such as frankfurters can be enhanced by treating with approved antimicrobial substances to control the growth of Listeria monocytogenes. We evaluated the effectiveness of acidic calcium sulfate with propionic and lactic acid, potassium lactate, or lactic acid postprocessing dipping solutions to control L. monocytogenes inoculated (ca. 108 CFU/ml) onto the surface of frankfurters with or without potassium lactate and stored in vacuum packages at 4.5° C for up to 12 weeks. Two frankfurter formulations were manufactured without (control) or with potassium lactate (KL, 3.3% of a 60% [wt/wt] commercially available syrup). After cooking, chilling, and peeling, each batch was divided into inoculated (four strains of L. monocytogenes mixture) and noninoculated groups. Each group was treated with four different dips: (i) control (saline solution), (ii) acidic calcium sulfate with propionic and lactic acid (ACS, 1:2 water), (iii) KL, or (iv) lactic acid (LA, 3.4% of a 88% [wt/wt] commercially available syrup) for 30 s. Noninoculated frankfurters were periodically analyzed for pH, water activity, residual nitrite, and aerobic plate counts (APCs), and L. monocytogenes counts (modified Oxford medium) were determined on inoculated samples. Surface APC counts remained at or near the lower limit of detection (<2 log CFU per frank) on franks with or without KL and treated with ACS or LA throughout 12 weeks at 4.5° C. L. monocytogenes counts remained at the minimum level of detection on all franks treated with the ACS dip, which indicated a residual bactericidal effect when L. monocytogenes populations were monitored over 12 weeks. L. monocytogenes numbers were also reduced, but not to the same degree in franks made without or with KL and treated with LA. These results revealed the effectiveness of ACS (bactericidal effect) or LA (bacteriostatic effect) as postprocessing dipping solutions to inhibit or control the growth of L. monocytogenes on vacuum-packaged frankfurters stored at 4.5° C for up to 12 weeks.

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