• beef;
  • Listeria monocytogenes;
  • pork;
  • salt;
  • turkey

Abstract:  Reducing sodium in food could have an effect on food safety. The objective was to determine differences in growth of Listeria monocytogenes in meat and poultry systems with salt substitutes. For phase 1, fresh ground beef, pork, and turkey with NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, MgCl2, sea salt, or replacement salt added at 2.0% were inoculated with L. monocytogenes to determine growth/survival during 5 d at 4 °C to simulate a pre-blend process. L. monocytogenes populations significantly decreased (0.41 log CFU/g) during the storage time in beef, but no differences (P > 0.05) were observed over time in pork or turkey. Salt type did not affect (P > 0.05) L. monocytogenes populations during pre-blend storage. MgCl2 and NaCl allowed significant growth of aerobic populations during storage. For phase 2, emulsified beef and pork products were processed with 2% NaCl, KCl, sea salt, or a NaCl/KCl blend and post-process surface-inoculated with L. monocytogenes to determine growth/survival at 4 °C for 28 d. Pork products showed significantly greater L. monocytogenes population growth at all sampling times (0, 7, 14, 21, and 28 d) than beef products, but salt type had no effect on L. monocytogenes populations with sampling times pooled for data analysis. Although salt types had no impact on L. monocytogenes populations in preblend and emulsified meat products, pork and turkey preblends and emulsified pork had greater L. monocytogenes populations compared with beef products. These studies demonstrate that sodium may not affect the safety of preblends and emulsified meat and poultry products.

Practical Application:  odium reduction in food is an important topic because of sodium's unfavorable health effects. This research shows that reducing sodium in pre-blends and emulsified meat and poultry products would have no effect on Listeria monocytogenes populations, but replacement of NaCl with MgCl2 may affect growth of aerobic populations.