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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334249

Research Project: Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites for Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Curing conditions to inactivate Trichinella spiralis muscle larvae in ready-to-eat pork sausage

item Hill, Dolores
item Luchansky, John
item Porto-Fett, Anna
item GAMBLE, H.R - National Academy Of Science
item Juneja, Vijay
item Fournet, Valsin
item Hawkins Cooper, Diane
item HOLLEY, R. - University Of Manitoba
item GAJADHAR, A.A. - University Of Saskatchewan
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Food and Waterborne Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2017
Publication Date: 6/21/2017
Citation: Hill, D.E., Luchansky, J.B., Porto Fett, A.C., Gamble, H., Juneja, V.K., Fournet, V.M., Hawkins Cooper, D.S., Holley, R., Gajadhar, A., Dubey, J.P. 2017. Curing conditions to inactivate Trichinella spiralis muscle larvae in ready-to-eat pork sausage. Food and Waterborne Parasitology. 6:1-8.

Interpretive Summary: Curing is a preservation process that is widely used in the pork industry. Curing processes are developed to meet certain product characteristics, including increased shelf life and palatability/taste. While product safety, relative to microbial contamination, is addressed in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans, following United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) guidelines on fermented products, no general control guidelines exist for inactivation of parasites, such as Trichinella spiralis, that may reside within pork meat. The USDA currently requires that cured pork products are prepared with pork that has tested negative for Trichinella at slaughter (adding a premium to the cost of raw product), or be prepared by a process which has been validated to inactivate Trichinella during the curing process. Validation studies are expensive to perform and have only been done in a few cases, and there are no models that can be used to extrapolate the parameters of meat chemistry which result in inactivation of Trichinella. In this study, we have assessed the feasibility of using the ARS Pathogen Modeling Programa to model five parameters of meat chemistry for inactivation of Trichinella: salt/brine concentration, aw, pH, temperature, and time. Using the newly developed model, any existing or newly developed curing process can be assessed for risk mitigation with respect to Trichinella based on the meat chemistry of the final product.

Technical Abstract: Curing processes for ready to eat (RTE) pork products currently require individual validation of methods to demonstrate inactivation of Trichinella spiralis. This is a major undertaking for each process; currently no model of meat chemistry exists that can be correlated with inactivation of Trichinella. All curing processes that are currently approved for inactivation of Trichinella are listed in the U.S Code of Federal regulations (CFR), 9CFR318.10 ( fdsys/pkg/CFR-2001-title9-vol2/pdf/CFR-2001-title9-vol2-sec318-10.pdf). The Food Safety and Inspection Service is removing prescriptive requirements for curing from the CFR and requiring that packers include risk for Trichinella in their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. Given the wide range of curing methods for RTE products and potential new products (e.g., lower salt), the availability of a model for inactivation of Trichinella in pork would be of substantial value to the industry. We have developed a multi-factorial model for pork curing processes, taking into account five common measurements monitored during curing - salt/brine concentration, water activity (aw), pH, temperature, and time. Model development was conducted following experimental design protocols that have been successfully used in the Agricultural Research Service's Pathogen Modeling Program (, using low and high endpoints for common curing treatments. These treatments reliably predict inactivation of Trichinella spiralis, and can be extrapolated to various curing processes to reduce or eliminate the need for individual product validation, impacting producers and packers by reducing costs and providing validated methods for inactivation of T. spiralis in dry cured RTE products.