Research – Viability of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes During Preparation and Storage of Fuet, a Traditional Dry-Cured Spanish Pork Sausage

Journal of Food Protection

We monitored viability of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes during preparation and storage of fuet. Coarse ground pork (ca. 35% fat) was mixed with salt (2.5%), dextrose (0.3%), starter culture (ca. 7.0 log CFU/g), celery powder (0.5%), and ground black pepper (0.3%), and then separately inoculated with a multi-strain cocktail (ca. 7.0 log CFU/g) of each pathogen. The batter was stuffed into a ca. 42-mm natural swine casing and fermented at 23°C and ca. 95% relative humidity (RH) to ≤pH 5.3 (≤ 48 h). Sausage were then dried at 12°C and ca. 80% RH to a w 0.89 (within 33 days) or a w  0.86 (within 60 days). A portion of each batch of fuet was subjected to high pressure processing (HPP; 600 MPa/3 min) before chubs were vacuum-packaged and stored for 30 days at 20°C. After fermentation, pathogen numbers remained relatively unchanged (≤0.35 log CFU/g reduction), whereas reductions of ca. 0.8 to 3.2 log CFU/g were achieved after drying fuet to a w 0.89 or 0.86. Regardless if fuet was or was not pressure treated, additional reductions of ca. 2.2 to ≥5.3 log CFU/g after drying were achieved following 30 days of storage at 20°C. For non-HPP treated fuet dried to a w 0.89 and stored for 30 days at 20°C, total reductions of ≥5.3 log CFU/g in levels of STEC or Salmonella spp. were achieved, whereas levels of L. monocytogenes were reduced by ca. 3.6 log CFU/g. Total reductions of ≥5.3 log CFU/g in levels of all three pathogens were achieved after drying non-HPP treated fuet to a w 0.86. For fuet dried to a w 0.89 or   0.86, pressure treated, and then stored for 30 days at 20°C, total reductions of >6.2 log CFU/g in levels of all three pathogens were achieved. The processing parameters tested herein, with or without application of HPP, validated reductions of ≥2.0- or ≥5.0-log CFU/g in levels of STEC, Salmonella spp., and L. monocytogenes were achieved during preparation and storage of fuet.

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