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Keywords:

  • frankfurters;
  • home;
  • Listeria monocytogenes;
  • retail;
  • storage

ABSTRACT:  This study evaluated the fate of inoculated Listeria monocytogenes on frankfurters stored under conditions simulating those that may be encountered between manufacturing and consumption. Frankfurters with or without 1.5% potassium lactate and 0.1% sodium diacetate (PL/SD) were inoculated (1.8 ± 0.1 log CFU/cm2) with a 10-strain composite of L. monocytogenes, vacuum-packaged, and stored under conditions simulating predistribution storage (24 h, 4 °C), temperature abuse during transportation (7 h, 7 °C followed by 7 h, 12 °C), and storage before purchase (60 d, 4 °C; SBP). At 0, 20, 40, and 60 d of SBP, samples were exposed to conditions simulating delivery from stores to homes or food establishments (3 h, 23 °C), and then opened or held vacuum-packaged at 4 or 7 °C for 14 d (SHF). Pathogen counts remained relatively constant on frankfurters with PL/SD regardless of product age and storage conditions; however, they increased on product without antimicrobials. In vacuum-packaged samples, during SHF at 4 °C, the pathogen grew faster (P < 0.05) on older product (20 d of SBP) compared to product that was fresh (0 d of SBP); a similar trend was observed in opened packages. At 7 °C, the fastest growth (0.35 ± 0.02 log CFU/cm2/d) was observed on fresh product in opened packages; in vacuum-packages, growth rates on fresh and aged products were similar. By day 40 of SBP the pathogen reached high numbers and increased slowly or remained unchanged during SHF. This information may be valuable in L. monocytogenes risk assessments and in development of guidelines for storage of frankfurters between package opening and product consumption.