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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Sommers, Christopher

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2003
Publication Date: 10/21/2003
Citation: Sommers, C.H. 2003. Effect of ionizing radiation on the safety and quality of foods (Meeting Abstract). EFSC XIII. p. 1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne pathogen, is a common post-processing contaminant on ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products and has been responsible for the recall of 90 million pounds of RTE meat products over the last five years. Ionizing radiation can eliminate L. monocytogenes from RTE meat products such as frankfurters, bologna, deli turkey meat and ham. A petition filed by the Food Irradiation Coalition of the National Food Processors Association to allow irradiation of RTE meats is currently under review by the U.S. FDA. The ionizing radiation dose required to reduce the population of L. monocytogenes on RTE meats by 5 log CFU ranges from 2.45 to 3.5 kGy, depending on the product type and formulation and the genetic characteristics of the L. monocytogenes strain. Food additives including acidulants, sodium diacetate, and sodium diacetate and potassium lactate mixtures increase the radiation sensitivity of L. monocytogenes on RTE meats by up to 20 percent and inhibit the proliferation of the radiation damaged pathogen for up to two months during long-term refrigerated storage. Ionizing radiation doses up to 4 kGy have little or no impact on RTE meat quality attributes including lipid oxidation, color, texture, and antioxidant power. Results indicate that application of ionizing radiation as a terminal intervention for packaged RTE meats would be a safe and effective process to guard against L. monocytogenes and ensure the microbiological safety of RTE meats.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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