Control of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meats containing sodium levulinate, sodium lactate, or a combination of sodium lactate and sodium diacetate

R. L. Thompson
C. E. Carpenter
S. Martini
Jeffery R. Broadbent, Utah State University


This study investigated the use of sodium levulinate to prevent outgrowth of Listeria monocytogenes in refrigerated ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products. Turkey breast roll and bologna were formulated to contain 1%, 2%, or 3% (w/w) sodium levulinate, 2% sodium lactate, a 2% combination of sodium lactate and sodium diacetate (1.875% sodium lactate and 0.125% sodium diacetate), or no antimicrobial (control). Samples of the RTE products were sliced, inoculated with 10 2 to 10 3 CFU/cm 2 of a 5-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes , vacuum packaged, and stored at refrigeration temperature for 0 to 12 wk. Counts reached 10 8 CFU/cm 2 on control turkey roll product after 8 wk, and over 10 7 CFU/cm 2 on control bologna after 12 wk. Addition of 2% or more sodium levulinate to turkey roll and 1% or more sodium levulinate to bologna completely prevented growth of L. monocytogenes during 12 wk of refrigerated storage. A consumer taste panel with pathogen-free samples found no differences in the overall liking among the preparations of turkey roll or among preparations of bologna. These results show that sodium levulinate is at least as effective at inhibiting outgrowth of L. monocytogenes in RTE meat products as the current industry standards of lactate or lactate and diacetate, and levulinate addition does not alter the overal lliking of the RTE meat products.