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Thermal processing of acidified foods with pH 4.1 to pH 4.6

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Shelf-stable acidified foods with a pH at or below 4.6 must be processed to achieve a 5-log reduction for vegetative bacterial pathogens. Published research does not exist to adequately support the Food and Drug Administration process filings for products with pH 4.1–4.6 or to define critical limits for acid and acidified foods with pH values in this range. Using a non-inhibitory vegetable-based medium, we developed models and data for the thermal destruction of acid-resistant vegetative microbial pathogens, including 5-strain cocktails of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica, and Listeria monocytogenes in acidified foods with pH values of 4.1 to 4.6. Under the experimental conditions, Listeria monocytogenes was the most heat- and acid-resistant pathogen. A z-value of 16.7°F, an F-value (at 160°F) of 5.6 min, and a table of recommended processing conditions were estimated from the thermal processing data. This work addresses a lack of documentation that is challenging to all areas of the industry, especially small processors.
Frederick Breidt , Kathryn Kay , Jason Osborne , Barbara Ingham , Fletcher Arritt
Escherichia coli O157 , Listeria monocytogenes , Salmonella enterica , acid tolerance , acidity , bacterial contamination , food contamination , food processing , foods , heat , heat tolerance , heat treatment , pH , pathogens , vegetables
USDA Scientist Submission
Food protection trends 2014 v.34 no.3
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.