Summary of Awards to Date

Risks of psychrotrophic Clostridium botulinum in MAP and vacuum packed chilled foods.

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Date

Jan. 1, 2006 - Dec. 1, 2008

Award Number

CCFRA Project 90191

Funding Agency

CCFRA - Campden Chorleywood Food Research Association

Investigator

Gail Betts, Ph.D.
CCFRA - Campden Chorleywood Food Research Association

Summary

The recommended shelf-life of vacuum- or modified-atmosphere packaged chilled foods held at or below 8?C is 10 days. Any extension to this is normally based on achieving a pH of less than 5; a water activity below 0.97; salt content above 3.5%; or a heat treatment equivalent to 90?C for 10 minutes. Any product requiring a shelf?life of longer than 10 days that is not subject to one of these critical control factors has to undergo a potentially long and costly challenge test. A further challenge has arisen from a draft FSA recommendation that if such products are stored at 5-8?C, they should have a shelf-life of only five days. This is based on predictive models which indicate that psychrotrophic C. botulinum can grow above 5?C within a 10 day period. These models were not, however, based on inoculated food studies, where additional preservative factors may prevent growth. Work is therefore proposed to evaluate the antibotulinal efficacy of additional preservation factors, such as nitrite, potassium chloride and potassium lactate, in a range of chilled foods.