The goals of this project were to validate lethality microbiological performance standards for slower heating times than those defined by Appendix A using alternative heating times and temperatures and to achieve stabilization microbiological performance standards for slower cooling times than those defined by Appendix B using alternative cooling times and temperatures.
Results of the study showed at least a 6.5 log reduction in Salmonella Typhimurium across all lethality treatments for both products. Further, coliform counts also were significantly reduced and S. aureus toxin kits returned negative results for toxin production across all treatments for both ham and roast beef. Stabilization data failed to show significant growth (> 1 log growth) of Clostridium perfringens for any treatment, with the exception of the “worst case” scenario for roast beef. As expected, > 1 log growth of C. perfringens was reported for uncured roast beef maintained at room temperature for cooling. This study supports product safety with the use of heating times and humidities other than those specified by Appendix A. In addition, safe product may be produced utilizing cooling times much slower than those outlined by Appendix B.
The results demonstrate that industry may have increased flexibility associated with heating and cooling large, whole-muscle cuts while still complying with the required performance standards.