MICROBIOLOGICAL SAFETY OF FUNCTIONAL READY TO EAT POTATO MEALS DURING THE STORAGE
Published: 6 Jun 2016
Abstract: Changes in consumer lifestyle, which requires a convenient food consumption, aids in the growing demand for ready to eat meals. It is important to ensure not only healthy but also microbiologically safe ready to eat meals. Thermal treatment is intended to ensure industrial sterility of the products. Commercially sterile food is processed in packaging, and the temperature is the key to reduce the amount of microorganisms in the food to a level where the food is free from viable forms of microorganisms, including spores. The aim of this study was to determine the efficiency of thermal treatment on functional ready to eat meals in flexible packaging. Five types of ready to eat meals were prepared for this study (control samples - potatoes and potatoes with chicken fillet, and functional ready to eat meals - potatoes with amaranth, quinoa, and bulgur). Ready to eat meals were filled in pouches of two different packaging materials (PA/PE and PET/ALU/PA/PP), hermetically sealed under vacuum and thermally treated in a pilot autoclave HST 50/100, ZIRBUS Technology GmbH (Germany) at 120 ± 0.5 °C for 10 minutes. After processing, the products were stored at 37 ± 2 °C for 14 days. pH, aw and aerobic and facultative anaerobic, mesophilic microorganisms were determined in product samples during storage. The obtained results indicate that the selected processing technology – thermal treatment of the products in packaging – is capable of ensuring microbiological safety of the product. 14-day storage at +37 °C did not have a significant influence on physical and microbiological parameters of the products (p>0.05), proving the effectiveness of the selected technology.
Keywords: functional food, microbiological safety, thermal treatment
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