La revue Viandes et produits carnés

La revue française de la recherche en viandes et produits carnés  ISSN  2555-8560

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Incidence of storage temperature and water activity on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus in sliced dry cured ham packed under modified atmosphere

The danger of Staphylococcus aureus in sliced dry cured ham is controlled by water activity, salt content and storage temperature. However, new retailing channels involving storage at ambient temperature raise a sanitary question about the ability of S. aureus to grow on dry cured ham in those conditions. Indeed, aw values in dry cured ham are known to be very heterogeneous depending on muscular mass location, salt levels, dehydration and ageing duration and may not be sufficient to prevent S. aureus growth by itself. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of different storage temperatures (20°C, 15°C and 8°C) on the behavior of S. aureus MW2 inoculated on sliced dry cured ham packed under modified atmosphere according to different aw values ranging from 0.89 to 0.96. Challenge-testing results were then used to predict the growth of S. aureus on slices of dry cured ham according to aw and storage temperature values. This study shows that, regardless of the aw values, no growth of S. aureus MW2 was observed at 8°C but the strain was able to grow at 20°C whatever the aw value. At 15°C, with an aw value greater than 0.94, staphylococcal population can reach up to 6.8 log10 CFU/g. This study involving both experimental and modelling approaches demonstrates that cold storage (below 8°C) is the most relevant hurdle for controlling the Staphylococcus aureus hazard in sliced dry cured ham under modified atmosphere.


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