This research examined the behavior of L. monocytogenes in RTE meat products containing lactoferrin, surface treated (dipped or sprayed) with the activated form of this protein (ALF), or both, in comparison to or in combination with the effective combination of sodium/potassium lactate and sodium diacetate.
Overall, the results showed that, under the conditions of this study, lactoferrin added as a formulation ingredient in bologna was not as effective as the combination of potassium lactate and sodium diacetate; also lactoferrin used in combination with potassium lactate and/or sodium diacetate did not enhance, or in some instances reduced, their antimicrobial activity. However, in frankfurters, lactoferrin combined with potassium lactate in the formulation was as effective as the potassium lactate-sodium diacetate combination. Furthermore, ALF as a post-processing antimicrobial solution on products including, frankfurters, and slices of bologna (formulated with beef only or beef and pork), ham, and uncured and cured turkey breast, was found not as effective as organic acid (acetic or lactic acid) or salt (sodium diacetate) solutions. It should be noted that in frankfurters formulated with potassium lactate and lactoferrin, dipping in ALF solution after processing, was as effective as dipping in acetic acid for frankfurters of the same formulation; both combinations did not allow growth for 50 days of storage at 7°C.
Lactoferrin can be used in RTE meat products to control L. monocytogenes, particularly in combination with already existing antimicrobial interventions.