Edible Apple Film Wraps May Protect Meat and Poultry Products against Foodborne Pathogens

September 23, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHICAGO – Foodborne pathogens like Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes are serious safety issues for food processors and consumers alike. However, meat and poultry products may be rendered safer with the use of edible apple film wraps, according to a new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

Researchers from the University of Arizona investigated the use of carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde in apple-based films. Carvacrol is the main ingredient of oregano oil, and cinnemaldehyde is the main ingredient of cinnamon oil. The researchers looked at how the antimicrobials in these films would protect against S. enterica and E. coli O157:H7 on chicken breast and L. monocytogenes on ham at two different temperatures. Their findings are as follows:

  • Carvacrol was a stronger antimicrobial agent against both Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 than cinnamaldehyde on the chicken breast at 4° C.
  • At 23° C, S. enterica population reductions were similar for both carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde but higher for carvacrol against E. coli O157:H7.
  • Carvacrol was also a stronger antimicrobial agent against L. monocytogenes than cinnamaldehyde on ham at 4° C and 23° C.
  • The antimicrobials containing apple films were also effective against the natural microflora present on raw chicken breast.

“Our findings provide a scientific rationale for large-scale application of apple-based antimicrobial films to improve microbial food safety,” says lead researcher Sadhana Ravishankar. “The use of edible antimicrobial films offers several consumer advantages, including prevention of moisture loss, control of dripping juices—which reduces cross contamination—reduction of rancidity and discoloration, and prevention of foreign odor pick-up.”

NOTE: This study was conducted in collaboration with Mendel Friedman and colleagues of USDA-ARS-WRRC in Albany, CA, where the apple-based edible antimicrobial films were prepared. This research was partially supported by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona and by the USDA-CSREES-NRI grant #2006-01321.

To receive a copy of the study, please contact Jeannie Houchins at jhouchins@ift.org.


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About IFT
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. Founded in 1939, IFT is a nonprofit scientific society with 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT champions the use of sound science across the food value chain through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy, encouraging the exchange of information, providing both formal and informal educational opportunities, and furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit ift.org.

© 2009 Institute of Food Technologists

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jeannie Houchins, MA, RD
312.604.0231
jhouchins@ift.org