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Survival and growth of Listeria species in a model ready-to-use vegetable product containing raw and cooked ingredients as affected by storage temperature and acidification

Thomas, C., Prior, O., O'Beirne, D.
International journal of food science & technology 1999 v.34 no.4 pp. 317-324
bean sprouts, sweetcorn, cooking, beans, mixtures, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria innocua, food storage, temperature, pH, citric acid, acetic acid, food safety, food contamination, microbial contamination, food spoilage, mortality, refrigeration, sensory evaluation, color, storage quality, controlled atmosphere storage, food packaging, oxygen, carbon dioxide, duration
The survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes and L. innocua strains inoculated onto cooked sweet corn and fresh bean sprouts packed individually, and as components of a combination product, were examined at refrigeration and mild abuse temperatures. Growth rates were both temperature and vegetable dependent. Maximal growth rates (1.14 +/- 0.1 log CFU/day) were identified on cooked sweet corn at 12 degrees C. The inclusion of cooked sweet corn did not significantly increase (P > 0.05) the growth rate or final Listeria population density of bean sprouts stored at 8 degrees C. and 12 degrees C. The sensory quality of bean sprouts was relatively temperature independent for the initial 48 h of storage, but was maximized (4 days shelf life) at 3 degrees C. Acidification of sweet corn to pH 5, particularly with citric acid, slowed Listeria growth and could be an additional hurdle to supplement temperature in maintaining the safety of minimally processed vegetable combination products.