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accelerated drying, challenge test, dry fermented sausages, food safety, Milano-type fermented sausages
A challenge test based on the inoculum of a multi-strain cocktail of Listeria innocua and Salmonella enterica viable cells was carried out to evaluate the capacity of an accelerated manufacturing technique (including conventional fermentation of the meat batter followed by freezing, slicing and drying) to guarantee the safety of Milano-type fermented sausages. The counts of S. enterica decreased by 1.5 and 1.6 log CFU/g in the sausages inoculated with 2 and 4 log CFU/g, respectively, while a less notable reduction (0.4 log CFU/g) was recorded for L. innocua, independently from the inoculum load. The comparison between the main microbiological and physico-chemical features of non-inoculated fermented sausages produced through either the accelerated or the traditional process highlighted significant differences in the percent R.U. and aw values. In both cases, the absence of Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes was ascertained. These outcomes encourage further investigation on the fate of these foodborne pathogens during a shelf-life challenge test.
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