Staphylococcal growth patterns in chicken tetrazzini prepared for a cook/chill foodservice system



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Texas Tech University


Chicken tetrazzini was prepared and stored for a simulated cook/chill foodservice operation. Immediately following preparation half of the product was inoculated with Staphylococcus aureus at a concentration of 200 org/gm of product. Samples were stored at 5°C for 1, 3, 5, and 10 days. Microbial analysis for total plate count and S. aureus was determined at the following intervals: prior to reconstitution, after heating in a conventional oven until an internal temperature of 160°F C71°C) had been reached, and after 15, 45, and 90 minutes holding on a simulated steam table.

The numbers of viable cells in the product prior to heating were influenced by the excessive growth of organisms during the first 8 hours of refrigeration, when the temperature of chicken tetrazzini was in the temperature range that permitted rapid growth of S. aureus (6.5°-46°C).

Conventional heating of the product prior to the holding produced inconsistent temperatures throughout the food mass. A decrease in number of organisms was apparent after the product had been adequately heated. Conditions for increase in microorganisms were optimal with lengthening holding time under simulated steam table conditions for Day 1 product. On subsequent days of research, microbial count decreased as the product was held on the steam table. S. aureus count and total plate count decreased to a low point at 5 days of refrigerated storage. Viable cells of S. aureus were detected at low levels at each phase of analysis throughout the research project. Utilization of appropriate time-temperature relationships, sanitation and quality control, and effective employee training are important aspects of successful cook/chill foodservice production.



Food -- Microbiology, Cookery (Frozen foods), Frozen foods, Staphylococcus aureus