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item Juneja, Vijay
item Huang, Lihan

Submitted to: International Journal of Food Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2006
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: Juneja, V.K., Huang, L., Thippareddi, H. 2006. Predictive model for growth of clostridium perfringens during cooling of cooked cured pork. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 110:85-92.

Interpretive Summary: One of the most common types of food poisoning in the United States is caused by the bacterium, Clostridium perfringens. Illnesses have been traditionally associated with inadequate cooling practices in retail food service operations. Thus, there was a need to determine the time and temperature for cooked cured meat products to remain pathogen-free and provide vital data for performing risk assessment on cooked meat. We developed a model that can be used to predict the growth of C. perfringens at temperatures relevant to the cooling of cooked pork products. The predictive model will be of immediate use to the retail food service operations and regulatory agencies to aid with the disposition of products subject to cooling deviations and therefore, ensure the safety of the cooked foods.

Technical Abstract: Mathematical models have been developed and used for predicting growth of foodborne pathogens in various food matrices. However, these early models either used microbiological media or other model systems to develop the predictive models. Some of these models have been shown to be inaccurate for applications in meat and specific food matrices, especially under dynamic conditions, such as constantly changing temperatures that are encountered during food processing. The objective of this investigation was to develop a model for predicting growth of Clostridium perfringens from spore inocula in cured pork ham. Isothermal growth of C. perfringens at various temperatures from 10 deg C to 48.9 deg C were evaluated using a methodology that employed a numerical technique to solve a set of differential equations, simulating the dynamics of bacterial growth. The estimated theoretical minimum and maximum growth temperatures of C. perfringens in cooked cured pork were 13.5 and 50.6 deg C, respectively. The kinetic and growth parameters obtained from this study can be used in evaluating growth of C. perfringens from spore populations during dynamically changing temperature conditions such as those encountered in meat processing. Further, this model can be successfully used to design microbiologically 'safe' cooling regimes for cured pork hams and similar products.