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ABSTRACT

The effects of selected organic acids and salts on microbial numbers, pH, exudate, and color were studied for vacuum-packaged, fresh pork chops. Pork chops were dipped for 2 min in (v/v) 1% acetic acid, 1% acetic/1% lactic acid, 1.5% acetic/1.5% sodium acetate, 3% acetic/3% sodium ascorbate, 3% acetic/2% NaCl or sterile, distilled water before being vacuum-packaged and stored at 2°– 4°C for 6 weeks. Treatments containing 3% acetic acid resulted in lower aerobic microbial numbers (P < 0.05) and effectively inhibited Enterobacteriaceae. Treatments containing 1% acetic acid, with or without 1% lactic acid, were ineffective. All acid treatments increased exudate and were detrimental to meat color (P < 0.05) although sodium ascorbate reduced color damage. Chops treated with 3% acetic acid/3% sodium ascorbate had the highest Hunter a and L color scores.