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Dry-cured ham thickness is a limiting factor for its sanitization by E-beam treatment


This work aimed to optimize the E-beam treatment of whole-boned dry-cured hams to reach the food safety objective for Listeria monocytogenes. According to the zero-tolerance criteria in the USA and China, 2.39 decimal reductions are required. Boned hams were grouped by their thickness in clusters A (≤ 7 cm) and B (> 7 cm). All of them were contaminated with Listeria innocua as a surrogate of the pathogen. The inoculum (approx. 107 cells) was placed in the space before occupied by the bone. Then, bilateral treatments at 1 and 2 kGy were applied to A and B clusters, respectively. Listerial load reductions higher than 2.39 log colony forming units (CFU) were observed in the innermost part of the pieces. The absorbed doses by the treated hams were < 3 kGy, avoiding the radiation over-exposure that could compromise their sensory quality. Therefore, taking into account the thickness of whole-bone ham pieces could optimize the sanitization effect of the E-beam treatment.

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Projects Ref. RTA 2013-00070-C03-02 and RTA 2017-00027-C03-02, European Found FEDER and Investigation Group BSCH-UCM Nº 920276 Ref GR3/14 are acknowledged. J.R. Lucas thanks the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica (CONCYTEC) of the Government of Perú (contract Nº 215-2015-FONDECYT).

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Correspondence to J. Raúl Lucas.

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Lucas, J.R., Velasco, R., Selgas, M.D. et al. Dry-cured ham thickness is a limiting factor for its sanitization by E-beam treatment. J Consum Prot Food Saf (2022).

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  • Boned dry-cured ham
  • E-beam treatment
  • Listeria
  • Food safety objective
  • Thickness