Research reports

Impact of sodium reduction on survival of Listeria monocytogenes in sliced process cheese

Read the full report: Impact of Sodium Reduction on Survival of Listeria monocytogenesin Sliced Process Cheese

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About this report:

This project carried out the experimental research to investigate whether Listeria monocytogenes, a major food safety pathogen, is capable of surviving in sliced process cheese and if the survival is enhanced in low‐sodium formulations. Listeria growth was persistent even at long-term (60 days) storage at refrigeration temperatures for all these cheeses.

Conclusions:

Our results indicated that there were no differences of L. monocytogenes survival patterns on slice on slice or individually wrapped process American Cheese at different temperatures. In all low sodium cheese, salt levels were replaced by potassium salts which contribute to the similar survival patterns as on regular cheese. Overall, Listeria cells showed the capacity to survive longer at lower storage temperatures compared to higher temperatures.

Project outcomes:

This study will benefit the dairy and cheese making industries by addressing the important issue of the fate of L. monocytogenes on low sodium cheese and involved risks in case of cross contamination at different incubation temperatures. The main finding of this research was that sodium reduction in processed cheese did not enhance survival nor promoted growth of Listeria monocytogenes at any temperature or brand tested  (vs. regular cheese. This study provided the first actual data of Listeria cell survival on commercially available low sodium American cheese.”