Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 24, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The use of heat to inactivate foodborne pathogens is a critical control point and the most common means of assuring the microbiological safety of processed foods. A key to optimization of the heating step is defining the target heat resistance. Sufficient evidence exists to document that insufficient cooking, reheating and/or subsequent cooling are often contributing factors in food-poisoning outbreaks. Accordingly, the objectives of this study were to determine the heat treatment required to achieve a specific lethality for foodborne pathogens, and to determine safe cooling rates for cooked meat. The effects and interactions of temperature, pH, sodium chloride content, and sodium pyrophosphate concentration are among the variables that were considered when attempting to assess the heat inactivation kinetics of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and spores of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum. Incorporation of these multiple barriers increased the sensitivity of pathogens to heat, thereby reducing heat requirements and ensuring the safety of ready-to-eat food products. Also, models to predict growth from surviving spores of Clostridium perfringens and C. botulinum (proteolytic) at temperatures applicable to the cooling of cooked meat were developed. Predictive inactivation kinetics (thermal death) and cooling deviation models for foodborne pathogens should aid in evaluating the safety of cooked products and are being used as building blocks for microbial risk assessments.