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Fermented and dried RTE meat products typically do not support the growth of due to acidity, low moisture and competition from the starter culture.
In fact, the pathogen decreases (dies off) on many of these products when held at room temperature or under refrigeration.
Products like prosciutto undergo a weeks-long curing process followed by a drying step that work together to provide the necessary lethality of potentially harmful bacteria.
Finished Product Packaging At the packaging stage in RTE meat processing plants, most products are placed into plastic bags with certain barrier properties to moisture and air.
These barrier properties can be reduced by the degree to which packaging film is stretched, particularly in the corners of the packages. Comparison of modified atmosphere packaging and vacuum packaging for long period storage of dry-cured ham: effects on color, texture and microbiological quality.
Incidentally, the behavior of , 20% CO2 and 20% N2 had only slight differences compared with 100% N2 on growth of total viable bacteria and lactic acid bacteria on cooked turkey breast and pork sausage stored in film with an OTR less than 35 cm²/m². A survey of retail and deli unpackaged ham in New Zealand found 4.5% of 301 samples contained all declined by at least 1 log CFU, and after 46 days, some of the pathogens were undetectable. These same three foodborne pathogens were later shown to decline on soudjouk-style fermented semi-dry sausage stored vacuum-packaged at refrigerated, ambient and abusive temperatures. The rates of decline of the pathogens increased with increasing storage temperature.
This food safety objective also happens to kill other vegetative bacterial pathogens that can occur in raw meat and meat ingredients, such as O157: H7.
Typically, processes are designed to kill 6.5 to 7.0 log CFU/g as a food safety objective according to federal regulations.
However, Pal and others from the University of Minnesota did not see growth of on cured, sliced ham with lactate and diacetate when stored in air at 8 °C (46.4 °F).
In their work, growth rates of the pathogen on uncured sliced turkey breast with lactate and diacetate were not markedly different at 8 °C (46.4 °F) when stored in vacuum-packages versus air.