Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2009
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Citation: Huang, L., Sheen, S. 2010. Cooling of cooked RTE meats and computer simulation. In: Hwang, A. and Huang. L., editors. Ready-to-Eat Foods, Microbial Concerns and Control Measures. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group. p.191-228.
Technical Abstract: Clostridium perfringens is a spore-forming pathogen that causes foodborne outbreaks associated with cooked or partially cooked meat and poultry products regulated by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The spores, activated during cooking, may germinate, outgrow, and multiply in meat or poultry products rapidly at temperatures between 30 and 47C. When ingested, the toxins produced by C. perfringens can cause severe abdominal pain. To prevent the outgrowth of C. perfringens, cooked products must be cooled rapidly, following the cooling guidelines established by USDA FSIS. This chapter reviews the growth kinetics of microorganisms that can be used to describe the growth behavior of C. perfringens at different temperature conditions, and provides a brief introduction to mathematical models to estimate the growth of this microorganism in cooked meats during cooling. This chapter also describes numerical methods for estimation of dynamic bacterial growth. Finally, finite element analysis was used to simulate the growth of C. perfringens in cooked meats under two different scenarios experienced during cooling. The contents covered in this chapter may help manufacturers of meat products and food safety regulators to assess the microbial safety of products concerning C. perfringens.