Document Detail

Development of an Effective Treatment for A 5-Log Reduction of Escherichia coli in Refrigerated Pickle Products.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23330823     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
  Refrigerated cucumber pickle products cannot be heat processed due to the loss of characteristic sensory attributes. Typically brined refrigerated pickles contain less than 100 mM acetic acid with pH values of 3.7 to 4.0. Refrigeration (4 to 10 °C) helps to inhibit the growth of spoilage bacteria and maintain flavor, texture, and appearance of the pickles. Previous research has shown that pathogenic Escherichia coli strains are unusually acid resistant and survive better in refrigerated acid solutions than at higher temperatures. We found that E. coli O157:H7 can survive for 1 mo or longer at 4 °C in brines typical of commercial refrigerated pickles. Our objective was to develop methods to assure a 5-log reduction of pathogenic E. coli in these types of products, while maintaining the sensory characteristics. A novel brine formulation was developed, based on current commercial refrigerated pickle brines, which contained 25 mM fumaric acid, 5 mM benzoic acid, 70 mM acetic acid, and 342 mM (2%) sodium chloride, with a pH of 3.8. Sensory data indicate that this formulation did not affect flavor or other sensory attributes of the product, compared to traditional formulations. We achieved a 5-log reduction of E. coli O157:H7 at 30 °C for 1.52 ± 0.15 d, at 20 °C for 3.12 ± 0.34 d, or at 10 °C for 8.83 ± 0.56 d. Growth of lactic acid bacteria was also inhibited. These results can be used by manufacturers to assure a 5-log reduction in cell numbers of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella without a heat process during the manufacture of refrigerated pickle products. Practical Application:  While refrigerated acidified vegetable products are exempt from the acidified foods regulations, we have shown that the vegetative microbial pathogens E. coli O157:H7 can survive for up to 1 mo in these products, given current commercial production practices. To improve the safety of refrigerated pickle products, a brine formulation with reduced acetic acid, but containing fumaric acid, was developed to assure a 5-log reduction in cell numbers of E. coli O157:H7 without a heat process. The formulation can be used to assure the safety of refrigerated pickled vegetables without altering sensory characteristics.
Huiying J Lu; Frederick Breidt Jr; Ilenys Pérez-Díaz
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-1-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of food science     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1750-3841     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Food Sci.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-21     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0014052     Medline TA:  J Food Sci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2013 Institute of Food Technologists®
Author Lu is with Dept. Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, 400 Dan Allen Drive, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27698-7624, U.S.A. Authors Breidt and Pérez-Díaz are with USDA-ARS, SAA Food Science Research Unit, 322 Schaub Hall, Box 7624, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695-7624, U.S.A. Direct inquires to author Breidt (E-mail:
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