Identification of a gras surrogate for salmonella in low water activity foods
Deen, Bronwyn Deanne
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Salmonella contamination of low water activity (aw) foods is a food safety issue. This project was aimed to identify a surrogate for Salmonella in low aw foods. Pediococcus acidilactici ATCC 8042, was identified as a potential generally-recognized as safe (GRAS) surrogate for Salmonella and was compared to a five-strain cocktail of Salmonella and to Enterococcus faecium NRRL-B2354, an already recognized surrogate. Thermal kinetics parameters were calculated in toasted oats cereal (TOC) and peanut butter, while single-time point inactivation measurements were determined in almonds. Both surrogates were inactivated in TOC at similar rates as Salmonella at temperatures between 85-95 °C and in peanut butter at 63-77 °C and there was no statistical difference between the two surrogates. In almonds, however, Pediococcus was more sensitive to heating at 138 °C than Salmonella and Enterococcus. This research recognized a viable GRAS surrogate for Salmonella for use in peanut butter and TOC.