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Meat Protected from Pathogens by Apple Film

by 5m Editor
28 September 2009, at 10:53am

US - Edible apple film wraps may protect meat and poultry products against foodborne pathogens, according to researchers at the University of Arizona.

Foodborne pathogens like Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes are serious safety issues for food processors and consumers alike. However, meat and poultry products may be rendered safer with the use of edible apple film wraps, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

Researchers from the University of Arizona investigated the use of carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde in apple-based films. Carvacrol is the main ingredient of oregano oil, and cinnemaldehyde is the main ingredient of cinnamon oil. The researchers looked at how the antimicrobials in these films would protect against S. enterica and E. coli O157:H7 on chicken breast and L. monocytogenes on ham at two different temperatures.

Their main findings were:

  • Carvacrol was a stronger antimicrobial agent against both Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 than cinnamaldehyde on the chicken breast at 4°C
  • At 23°C, S. enterica population reductions were similar for both carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde but higher for carvacrol against E. coli O157:H7
  • Carvacrol was also a stronger antimicrobial agent against L. monocytogenes than cinnamaldehyde on ham at 4°C and 23°C, and
  • The antimicrobials containing apple films were also effective against the natural microflora present on raw chicken breast.

Lead researcher, Sadhana Ravishankar, said: "Our findings provide a scientific rationale for large-scale application of apple-based antimicrobial films to improve microbial food safety.

"The use of edible antimicrobial films offers several consumer advantages, including prevention of moisture loss, control of dripping juices – which reduces cross contamination – reduction of rancidity and discoloration and prevention of foreign odour pick-up."