Investigating the control of Listeria monocytogenes on uncured, no-nitrate-or-nitrite-added meat products
With the increased growth in natural and organic processed meats, suppliers have begun to offer “ clean label ” solutions to improve the safety of minimally processed foods. This study investigated the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on uncured, no – nitrate – or– nitrite– added Emulsified Frankfurter Style Cooked Sausages (EFSC) with or without natural or “ clean label ” antimicrobials, over a 120 d sampling period. Additional quality attributes including residual nitrate, residual nitrite, TBARS analysis and color were also analyzed. No – nitrate – or – nitrite– added treatments with no anti – listerial control measures exhibited a decreased lag time and shorter generation time for initiation of growth, resulting in a greater population of L. monocytogenes when compared to the sodium nitrite, sodium lactate/diacetate controls or alternatively cured products with natural or “ clean label ” antimicrobials. Curing systems which utilize a natural nitrate source and nitrate reducing starter culture were negatively impacted by the addition of these antimicrobials. Significantly higher levels (P<0.05) of residual nitrate and lower levels (P<0.05) of residual nitrite were found in treatments which contained natural and “ clean label ” antimicrobials. Results indicate that natural and “ clean label ” antimicrobials may serve as an effective intervention strategy for L. monocytogenes in the production of uncured, no – nitrate – or – nitrite – added (natural or organic) ready – to – eat (RTE) meat products, but may have negative impacts on the generation of nitrite for curing reactions and other quality attributes.