Application Note

Food Ingredient Combats Listeria

In the wake of the Bil Mar hot dog debacle and new HACCP guidelines for ready-to-eat meat products, Quest International offers another weapon in the fight against Listeria monocytogenes. Neither a pathogen-detection device nor a sanitizing system, ALTA 2341 is a food ingredient that can serve as an effective barrier to help control the development of Listeria monocytogenes and other susceptible microorganisms.

With specific application in ready-to-eat meat products, ALTA 2341 is an all-natural, multi-functional ingredient based on traditional lactic acid bacteria. It contains natural metabolites, including organic acids and the bacteriocin pediocin found in typical, fermented meat products. Since it was characterized in 1987, there has been considerable scientific literature published supporting the effectiveness of pediocin against gram-positive bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes.

"Pediocins are small peptides that - together with the fermentation-derived organic acids produced by lactic acid bacteria - exhibit a unique mode of action that attacks gram-positive bacteria, such as gas producing Lactobacillus and Listeria monocytogenes. Both bacteria are responsible for spoilage of processed foods," said David Nicholson, technical manager, Savory Products, Quest International.

Studies conducted by Quest demonstrated that meat products containing ALTA 2341 resulted in significant reduction in the number of Listeria monocytogenes during refrigerated storage. When following the recommended use rate of one percent, meat products containing ALTA 2341 held at 5°C kept Listeria monocytogenes in check over time.

Listeria monocytegenes are air- and soil-borne bacteria that may contact foods during production, processing distribution, handling and preparation. The bacterium can grow at low temperatures and, therefore, may be able to grow on refrigerated, heat-processed meats if present.

"ALTA 2341 provides multi-functional advantages, such as extended shelf life and improved flavor and texture, at a very affordable cost and can be used in virtually any processing environment or product application. It is available in powder form and is already being used successfully by food manufacturers, particularly in the sliced meats egment," said Nicholson.

Application trials of ALTA products in cheese sauces, heat-and-serve entrees, dairy systems, meats and other products indicate they are effective against many food spoilage organisms, including Lactobacillus, Pseudomonus, Bacillus and mold.

For more information contact Quest International, 5115 Sedge Blvd., Hoffman Estates, IL 60192. Tel: 847-645-7164; Fax: 847-645-7056.