Octanoic acid: a matter of taste
According to a new study, using octanoic acid treatments
on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products is an effective means of killing
pathogens such as Listeria without much effect on taste.
In a study, published in the current issue of the Journal of
, whole-muscle and broken ready-to-eat products (RTE) were
inoculated with a five-strain mixture of Listeria
The products tested included oil-browned turkey and cured ham. Once sealed,
the vacuum-packaged RTE products containing the acid were immersed in water
heated to 93.3Â°C (200Â°F) for two seconds to effect adequate film shrinkage. Once
treated, the RTE products were examined for survivor populations of L.
monocytogenes after 24 hours of storage at 5Â°C.
The study found that the octanoic treatment of RTE products reduced L.
monocytogenes numbers below the maximum allowed levels under current food safety
practices, the scientists said.
The taste evaluation was conducted with a 60-member trained panel on 11
uninoculated, treated RTE products. The results from the sensory evaluation
demonstrated that 10 of the 11 treated RTE products were not perceived as
different from the untreated samples.
All of the six scientists conducting the research are affiliated with Ecolab
's research centre in
Minnesota, US. Ecolab is a major producers of octanoic acid treatments for the
food industry. The treatments are approved wordwide for use as a processing aid
in water in various formulations. It can be used as an antimicrobial treatment
on red meat and poultry carcasses.
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