Research – Microbiological Safety and Shelf-Life of Low-Salt Meat Products—A Review


Salt is widely employed in different foods, especially in meat products, due to its very diverse and extended functionality. However, the high intake of sodium chloride in human diet has been under consideration for the last years, because it is related to serious health problems. The meat-processing industry and research institutions are evaluating different strategies to overcome the elevated salt concentrations in products without a quality reduction. Several properties could be directly or indirectly affected by a sodium chloride decrease. Among them, microbial stability could be shifted towards pathogen growth, posing a serious public health threat. Nonetheless, the majority of the literature available focuses attention on the sensorial and technological challenges that salt reduction implies. Thereafter, the need to discuss the consequences for shelf-life and microbial safety should be considered. Hence, this review aims to merge all the available knowledge regarding salt reduction in meat products, providing an assessment on how to obtain low salt products that are sensorily accepted by the consumer, technologically feasible from the perspective of the industry, and, in particular, safe with respect to microbial stability.

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