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Microbial growth and its control in meat, poultry and fish
Foods of muscle ongm are sensitive to contamination and support growth of microorganisms involved in spoilage and food borne illness. In fresh, unprocessed products, microorganisms multiply rapidly, especially at non-refrigeration temperatures, resulting in loss of quality and/or public health problems. Thus, various methods of processing and preservation are being applied to inactivate or inhibit microbial growth in order to extend product shelf-life, while maintaining palatability and safety. In recent years, however, consumers prefer meat products or meat entrees subjected to minimal processing and preservation treatments, which at the same time offer convenience, long shelf-life and safety. The initial high palatability of these products can be compromised by increased potential for growth of pathogenic bacteria, especially the psychrotrophs of recent concern. Since the vast subject of muscle food microbiology has been discussed extensively in various books (Brown, 1982; Pearson and Dutson, 1986; Cunningham and Cox, 1987), chapters and review papers, this chapter will concentrate on certain aspects of recent research interest and matters of current concern. The topics include sources, types and removal of microorganisms from muscle foods, spoilage and food borne illness, especially by Listeria monocytogenes, and the control of microbial growth, especially by modified-atmosphere storage and biopreservation.