Evaluation of the shelf life and cooking methods of Ascoli-style olives, an Italian specialty food
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In recent years, consumers have been increasingly interested in the quality and safety of specialty food products that are perceived as healthy and wholesome. However, few studies have been carried out to assess the effects of domestic cooking on the fate of pathogens in meat-based products. The present study aimed to assess the shelf life of ready-to-cook Ascoli-style olives, an Italian specialty food preparation, through accelerated shelf life tests. A challenge test was also carried out to test the efficacy of cooking methods on the survival of Salmonella Senftenberg strains. Accelerated shelf life assays, including physico-chemical assays (investigating the total volatile basic nitrogen and pH), microbiological counts (Enterobacteriaceae counts) and sensory parameters (appearance, color, odor, flavor and texture) allowed us to obtain sound information on the durability of pre-cooked Ascoli-style olives in an affordable and efficient manner. This is therefore an effective method that could be exploited by food business operators hoping to provide scientific information on product shelf life assessments. The challenge tests demonstrated that fan-baking in an electric oven at 200 °C for 12 min and deep frying for 4 min are the more effective treatments needed to inactivate the artificially inoculated Salmonella Senftenberg strains.
KeywordsChallenge test Food durability Food safety Deep frying Salmonella Fan-baking
AP was the scientific coordinator of the study. MF and SL set up the protocols for the microbial contamination of the samples subjected to the challenge test. FP and VV carried out the microbiological analyses of the samples subjected to the challenge test. MF and RM coordinated the activities at the Optimization and Control of Food Production Laboratory used for the challenge test. AP and AP carried out the microbial contamination of samples subjected to the challenge test and cooking trials. MNH and MSA set up the shelf life protocols, and MT carried out the chemical and microbiological analyses of the samples subjected to shelf life assessment. The paper was written by AP, MNH and AO, and FC and FT performed the critical analysis of the data collected. Finally, the paper was critically read and improved upon by all co-authors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Compliance with ethics requirements
This article does not contain any studies with human of animal subjects.
All assessors involved in the sensory analysis were informed about the aims of the study and provided their informed written consent.
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