Growth potential of Listeria monocytogenes in twelve different types of RTE salads: Impact of food matrix, storage temperature and storage time.


Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zürich, Switzerland. Electronic address: [Email]


Listeriosis is a food borne disease associated with high hospitalization and fatality rates; in 2014, EU member states reported 2194 cases with 98.9% hospitalization rates and 210 fatalities. Proper risk analysis and the development of effective food safety strategies critically depend on the knowledge of the growth characteristics of L. monocytogenes on the product in question. Ready-to-eat (RTE) salads present a challenge in this context due to the absence of a heat treatment step before consumption. This study provides challenge-test based data of the growth characteristics of L. monocytogenes on twelve RTE salads. The food matrix, storage time and storage temperature were factors with a significant impact on the growth of L. monocytogenes. While most tested salads permitted a significant increase of L. monocytogenes in at least one of the tested conditions, no growth was observed on celeriac, carrot and corn salad products. There was a considerable increase in growth at 8 °C compared to 5 °C. Our data indicate that the reduction of the storage temperature at retail level to 5 °C and product shelf life could help mitigate the risk of L. monocytogenes in RTE salads.


Challenge test,Cold growth,Microbial growth modelling,Total Enterobacteriaceae,Total viable count,

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