The overall project goal is to reduce the risk from incidental contamination with Listeria monocytogenes on RTE processed meat and poultry products by surface thermal pasteurization.
This research intends to provide further information on the utility of surface pasteurization of RTE meat and poultry products to reduce potential contamination by Listeria monocytogenes to provide a viable process to produce RTE products of enhanced keeping quality. OSU's recent efforts have already shown successful deployment and implementation of prepackage pasteurization using a radiant heat oven and post package pasteurization by immersion in a circulating hot water bath. These processes have been accepted and cited by USDA-FSIS in reducing the risk category of high/medium risk products (Directive 10,240.3) as well as accommodating Alternatives 1 & 2 of the recent final rule on control of Listeria on RTE meat and poultry products (Fed. Reg., 2003). (At AMIF's request, the experimental plan was revised to reflect current industry use of sodium diacetate and lactate, reduced dipping times and reduced temperatures. The revisions are reflected in this report.)
While the application of antimicrobials, organic acids, and pre- and/or post-package pasteurization were effective in reducing microbial loads and increasing shelf-life, the combination of treatments produced a synergistic reduction that was the most effective.
The use of multiple hurdle interventions like heat, antimicrobials, and organic acids can successfully reduce the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes on RTE products.