Manufacturers of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products have a new weapon in their arsenal against Listeria monocytogenes as the USDA adds liquid sodium propionate to its list of approved antimicrobials.
Following a petition by Kemin Industries, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) approved the antimicrobial, opening the door to Kemin’s BactoCease ingredient for RTE meat and poultry products. The amended regulation will be effective May 6, 2013.
“This is a game-changer for manufacturers of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products and consumers who value the quality and safety of those foods,” said Dr. Chris Nelson, President and CEO of Kemin.
“It’s also very gratifying to Kemin researchers and scientists who dedicate themselves to providing breakthroughs and ingredients that improve the lives of others.”
BactoCease is described as a propionic acid-based antimicrobial system that offers a consistent, cost-effective alternative to other lactates to help control Listeria monocytogenes, reduce microbial spoilage, extend shelf-life and increase the safety of RTE meat and poultry products.
Internal data has indicated that BactoCease can consistently inhibit Listeria in turkey, ham and roast beef for an average of 10-12 weeks depending on the meat application, said the company.
On the other hand, meat treated with lactate-diacetate showed significant increases in Listeria populations after four and eight weeks.
“Not only does BactoCease perform more consistently than traditional lactates, it is applied at a lower application rate,” said the company. “This means less ingredient cost per pound of meat produced without negatively impacting the sensory or quality attributes of meat and poultry products.
Betsy Blades, director of marketing for the food technologies division of Kemin, explained that while preservatives are necessary for the safety of RTE meat and poultry products, consumers do not want to see large amounts in their products.
“Being able to minimize the rates at which the preservatives are applied and maintain product safety is important to meeting consumer demand,” she said.
“As food safety becomes more of a priority in the industry, manufacturers are hungry for label-friendly alternatives that are backed by science,” said Blades.
“The demand for ingredients that help minimize their risk will continue to grow.
“Although BactoCEASE has been permitted with the use of in-plant waivers beginning September, 2010. The change in regulation will certainly make it even easier for manufacturers to make a switch, and we expect many will.”
Kemin first petitioned FSIS in 2012 to request the amendment of 9 CFR 424.21(c) to list liquid sodium propionate as an acceptable antimicrobial agent for use in RTE meat and poultry products.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the ingredients for Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status and FSIS for suitability as an antimicrobial in various meat and poultry products. FDA concluded liquid sodium propionate to be GRAS January, 2011.
The Final Rule was approved on March 7, 2013 and liquid sodium propionate will be added to the next FSIS Directive 7120.1 revision. Effective May 6, 2013 liquid sodium propionate can be used without an in-plant waiver, said Kemin.
Blades confirmed that liquid sodium propionate is not currently being used in meat and poultry products in other countries, but the company is looking to market in other countries as well.
Other ingredient suppliers are offering alternative products for the control of Listeria Monocytogenesin RTE meat and poultry products, she added, but “Kemin prides itself at taking initiative to scientifically seek out an effective alternative for meat and poultry manufacturers as well as invest both time and resources to keep moving the petition forward.
“While other companies may offer liquid sodium propionate products, Kemin's BactoCease is manufactured by a unique process that delivers a liquid sodium product with a pH range that is most effective in meat and poultry applications.”