Abstract: Inhibition of Clostridium perfringens spore germination and outgrowth in reduced sodium roast beef by a blend of buffered lemon juice concentrate and vinegar (MoStatin LV1) during abusive exponential cooling was evaluated. Roast beef containing salt (NaCl; 1%, 1.5%, or 2%, w/w), blend of sodium pyro- and poly-phosphates (0.3%), and MoStatin LV1 (0%, 2%, or 2.5%) was inoculated with a 3-strain C. perfringens spore cocktail to achieve final spore population of 2.5 to 3.0 log CFU/g. The inoculated products were heat treated and cooled exponentially from 54.4 to 4.4 °C within 6.5, 9, 12, 15, 18, or 21 h. Cooling of roast beef (2.0% NaCl) within 6.5 and 9 h resulted in <1.0 log CFU/g increase in C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth, whereas reducing the salt concentration to 1.5% and 1.0% resulted in >1.0 log CFU/g increase for cooling times longer than 9 h (1.1 and 2.2 log CFU/g, respectively). Incorporation of MoStatin LV1 into the roast beef formulation minimized the C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth to <1.0 log CFU/g, regardless of the salt concentration and the cooling time.
Practical Application: Cooked, ready-to-eat meat products should be cooled rapidly to reduce the risk of Clostridium perfringens spore germination and outgrowth. Meat processors are reducing the sodium chloride content of the processed meats as a consequence of the dietary recommendations. Sodium chloride reduces the risk of C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth in meat products. Antimicrobials that contribute minimally to the sodium content of the product should be incorporated into processed meats to assure food safety. Buffered lemon juice and vinegar can be incorporated into meat product formulations to reduce the risk of C. perfringens spore germination and outgrowth during abusive cooling.