The ripening period for salted sardines ranges from 4 to 6 months, depending on the season. Sometimes producing industries need to distribute the product earlier owing to market needs, and when this happens the product’s safety needs to be assured. The purpose of this work was to study the survival of Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella Enteritidis on salted sardines during a ripening period of 115 days. Salted sardines were inoculated with pure cultures of S. aureus and Salmonella Enteritidis (10(5) CFU/g of fish on day 0). After 5 days of ripening, the water activity value for the sardines decreased from 0.93 to 0.69. The survival of both pathogens and that of total viable cells were evaluated during the ripening process. Total viable counts decreased by 2 log units over the 115-day ripening period. Salmonella Enteritidis and S. aureus survived for 60 and 90 days, respectively. Therefore, the use of a 90-day ripening period could be effective in assuring the safety of the final product.
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