Reducing sodium in pre-blends and emulsified meat and poultry products would have no effect on Listeria monocytogenes populations but replacement of sodium chloride with magnesium chloride may affect growth of aerobic populations, according to new research from Kansas State University in the US.
Reducing sodium in food could have an effect on food safety, proposed Kansas State University researchers, Nigel M. Harper and Kelly J.K. Getty. The objective of their study, published in Journal of Food Science recently, was to determine differences in growth ofListeria monocytogenes in meat and poultry systems with salt substitutes.
For phase 1, fresh ground beef, pork and turkey with NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, MgCl2, sea salt or replacement salt added at 2.0 per cent were inoculated with L. monocytogenes to determine growth/survival during five days at 4°C to simulate a pre-blend process.
L. monocytogenes populations significantly decreased (0.41 log CFU/g) during the storage time in beef but no differences (P>0.05) were observed over time in pork or turkey.
Salt type did not affect (P>0.05) L. monocytogenes populations during pre-blend storage. MgCl2 and NaCl allowed significant growth of aerobic populations during storage.
For phase 2, emulsified beef and pork products were processed with two per cent NaCl, KCl, sea salt or a NaCl/KCl blend and post-process surface-inoculated with L. monocytogenes to determine growth/survival at 4°C for 28 days.
Pork products showed significantly greater L. monocytogenes population growth at all sampling times (0, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days) than beef products but salt type had no effect on L. monocytogenes populations with sampling times pooled for data analysis.
Although salt types had no impact on L. monocytogenes populations in pre-blend and emulsified meat products, pork and turkey pre-blends and emulsified pork had greater L. monocytogenes populations than beef products.
Harper and Getty concluded their studies demonstrate that sodium may not affect the safety of pre-blends and emulsified meat and poultry products.
Harper N.M. and K.J.K. Getty. 2012. Effect of salt reduction on growth of Listeria monocytogenes in meat and poultry systems. Journal of Food Science, 77 (12):M669–M674. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02975.x