Risk management of ready-to-eat meat products contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes
Nowadays, the modern life style relies heavily on the availability, quality, and safety of ready-to-eat (RTE) food products. The quality of the raw material, handling, processing, transportation and storage are the important factors influencing the microbial quality of the finished product. The mostly consumed RTE meat products are hamburgers, frankfurters, hot dogs, dry/semi-dry fermented sausages, salami, and deli meats. Several pathogens could be found on RTE meat products, including Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus. Vegetative pathogens are destroyed during thorough cooking and processing of these products. Contamination during post-processing in the plant, and further contamination and improper handling during storage, at retail or in home cause microbial growth. Pathogens can multiply under inappropriate conditions causing foodborne diseases and outbreaks.