The microbial spoilage of sliced and packaged boiled sausage or cooked ham is mostly based on the proliferation of lactic acid bacteria, which can lead to the formation of off-flavors, discolouration or slime formation. Contaminations with psychrotrophic, (facultative) anaerobic pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes pose a risk to the consumer. Oxidation processes can also cause quality loss due to discolourations and the formation of rancid off-flavors. In order to ensure a sufficient shelf life and product safety, alternative approaches for food preservation are required. In this context, a reduction of unwanted nitrite curing salts is also desirable.
Beta-acids from the hop plant are known for their high antimicrobial activity against gram-positive bacteria, which include lactic acid bacteria, Listeria or Clostridia. In addition, Beta-acids have an antioxidant effect.
In this project, Beta-acid extracts are used as an ingredient in boiled cured sausages and cooked ham in order to achieve microbiological and chemical stabilization and a reduction of nitrite curing salts. For this purpose, specific processes for the use of hop extracts in sausage production are developed. Microbiological test series as well as storage trials for the quality evaluation of cut, packaged products under standard commercial conditions will provide profound knowledge for an industrial implementation.
Hop processors, manufacturers of food additives as well as the meat industry will benefit from the outcome of this project. By extending the shelf life of packaged products, the distribution of goods could be expanded and sales through exports could be increased. The use of hop extracts in meat products can also contribute to increasing food safety and follows a current trend regarding the use of natural ingredients instead of chemical preservatives.
The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy via the AiF as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.