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Survival of Salmonella in Cookie and Cracker Sandwiches Containing Inoculated, Low–Water Activity Fillings
- Beuchat, Larry R., Mann, David A.
- Journal of food protection 2015 v.78 no.10 pp. 1828-1834
- Salmonella, cheeses, chocolate, cookies, crackers, ingredients, inoculum, manufacturing, pathogens, peanut butter, peanuts, water activity
- A study was done to determine the rate of inactivation of Salmonella in cookie and cracker snack sandwiches. Two cookie bases (chocolate and vanilla) and cheese crackers, along with high-sugar chocolate and peanut butter–based crème cookie fillings and peanut butter– and cheese-based cracker fillings, were obtained from commercial sources. Fillings and sandwiches containing fillings that had been dry- or wet-inoculated with Salmonella were stored at 25°C for 1, 6, 21, 35, 70, 112, and 182 days (6 months). At initial populations of 3.4 and 3.6 log CFU/g of cookie sandwiches containing chocolate crème and peanut butter crème fillings, respectively, Salmonella survived for at least 182 days; initially at 0.36 log CFU/g, the pathogen survived for at least 35 and 70 days. Initially at 2.9 and 3.4 log CFU/g of cracker sandwiches containing peanut butter– and cheese-based fillings, respectively, Salmonella survived for at least 182 and 112 days; initially at 0.53 log CFU/g, the pathogen survived for at least 6 and 35 days. Inactivation of Salmonella was more rapid in wet-inoculated peanut butter crème cookie filling than in dry-inoculated filling but was less affected by type of inoculum in peanut butter–based cracker filling. Chocolate cookie base (water activity [a(w)] 0.39) and chocolate crème filling (aw 0.30) components of sandwiches equilibrated to aw 0.38 within 15 days at 25°C; vanilla cookie base (a(w) 0.21) and peanut butter–based crème filling (aw 0.27) equilibrated to a(w) 0.24 between 50 and 80 days. Cheese cracker (aw 0.14) and peanut butter–based filling (aw 0.31) or cheese-based filling (aw 0.33) components of sandwiches equilibrated to aw 0.33 in 80 days. The ability of Salmonella to survive for at least 182 days in fillings of cookie and cracker sandwiches demonstrates a need to assure that filling ingredients do not contain the pathogen and that contamination does not occur during manufacture.