Investigating the microbiological safety of uncured no nitrate or nitrite added processed meat products

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2010-01-01
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Jackson, Armitra
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Joseph G. Sebranek
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

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The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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The popularity of preservative-free foods among consumers has stimulated rapid growth of processed meats manufactured without nitrite. The objective of the first phase of this study was to quantify the potential for Clostridium perfringens growth in commercial processed meats manufactured without the direct addition of nitrite/nitrate. These results indicate that commercial natural/organic cured meats have more potential for pathogen growth than conventionally cured products. Subsequently, the objective of the next phase was to identify and test ingredients that might improve product safety without altering the unique natural/organic status of these products. Commercial brands of uncured, no-nitrate/nitrite-added frankfurters (10), bacons (9) and hams (7) were challenged with a three-strain inoculation (5 log10 CFU/g) of Clostridium perfringens. Reduced inhibition (P<0.05) was observed in seven brands of commercial frankfurters and hams and four brands of commercial bacons when compared to each sodium nitrite-added control. Eight treatments of hams and frankfurters with conventional or natural nitrate/nitrite sources and natural antimicrobials were prepared: (1) uncured control (all typical ingredients except nitrite and nitrate), (2) conventionally cured control (erythorbate, nitrite, lactate/diacetate blend), (3) natural nitrate cure (with starter culture containing Staphylococcus carnosus), (4) natural nitrate cure (with culture and natural antimicrobial A containing vinegar, lemon and cherry powder blend), (5) natural nitrate cure (with culture and clean label antimicrobial B containing cultured corn sugar and vinegar blend), (6) natural nitrite cure without additional antimicrobials, (7) natural nitrite cure with natural antimicrobial A and (8) natural nitrite cure with clean label antimicrobial B. Treatments 3, 4, 5 and 8 for hams and 4, 7 and 8 for frankfurters showed no significantly greater (P<0.05) growth by inoculated Clostridium perfringens than the control. These results suggest that commercial natural/organic cured meats have more potential for pathogen growth than conventionally cured products, but other natural ingredients offer safety improvement.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2010