Foodinfo Online FSTA Reports 4 July 2006
© IFIS Publishing 2006 – All Rights Reserved
Listeria monocytogenes is a significant foodborne pathogen, particularly in ready-to-eat (RTE) meats. Over recent years, there have been several illnesses and deaths associated with foodborne listeriosis. There is therefore a need to evaluate post-process interventions for their ability to enhance the safety of high-volume RTE foods.

A number of regulations have been issued by regulatory agencies such as the US FDA establishing guidelines for manufacturers of RTE meat and poultry products. These provide various rules covering the use of post-process lethality steps with antimicrobials or sanitation alone. There is an urgent and critical need to identify and implement post-process interventions for killing or inhibiting L. monocytogenes in RTE meats.
Interventions that are effective against L. monocytogenes include heat, certain food-grade chemicals such as organic acids and pH-altering inorganic compounds such as acidifed sodium chlorite. Although heat and food-grade chemicals have antilisterial activity, a combination of interventions may be needed to help producers meet current regulatory requirements for controlling L. monocytogenes in RTE meat products without adversely affecting food quality.
A study by Luchansky et al.1 investigated the efficacy of a combination of interventions in controlling L. monocytogenes on the surface of cook-in-bag turkey breasts. Potassium lactate and sodium diacetate were used as part of the ingredient formulation with acidified sodium chlorite as a surface-applied agent, coupled with post-packaging hot water pasteurization. The findings showed that hot water post-process pasteurization alone was effective in reducing L. monocytogenes on the surface of the turkey breasts. However, the chemical interventions were only partially effective in controlling pathogen outgrowth during refrigerated storage.
1 Luchansky, JB; Cocoma, G; Call, JE (2006). Hot water postprocess pasteurization of cook-in-bag turkey breast with and without potassium lactate and sodium diacetate and acidified sodium chloride for control of Listeria monocytogenes. Journal of Food Protection 69 (1) 39-46.