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Challenge test, growth potential, legislation, Listeria monocytogenes, ready to eat meat products, "Salsiccia Sarda", water activity


“Salsiccia Sarda” is catalogued as a ready-to-eat food (RTE) for which actual European Legislation proposes microbiological criteria for L. monocytogenes. This study evaluates the influence of water activity (aw) on L. monocytogenes growth in 180 "Salsiccia Sarda” samples. A challenge test was performed to determine the L. monocytogenes growth potential (?). The highest values of ? were detected in samples with limited values of a w, showing that this product is frequently around the limits for the growth of this pathogen. Our results provide some critical information about process parameter combinations that could lead to greater safety of this product and better L. monocytogenes control.
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