Outbreaks of verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) linked to dry-fermented sausages (DFSs) have emphasized the need for DFS manufacturers to introduce measures to obtain enhanced safety and still maintain the sensory qualities of their products. To our knowledge no data have yet been reported on non-O157:H7 VTEC survival in DFS. Here, the importance of recipe and process variables on VTEC (O157:H7 and O103:H25) reductions in two types of DFS, morr and salami, was determined through three statistically designed experiments. Linear regression and ANOVA analyses showed that no single variable had a dominant effect on VTEC reductions. High levels of NaCl, NaNO(2), glucose (low pH) and fermentation temperature gave enhanced VTEC reduction, while high fat and large casing diameter (a(w)) gave the opposite effect. Interaction effects were small. The process and recipe variables showed similar effects in morr and salami. In general, recipes combining high batter levels of salt (NaCl and NaNO(2)) and glucose along with high fermentation temperature that gave DFS with low final pH and a(w), provided approximately 3 log(10) reductions compared to approximately 1.5 log(10) reductions obtained for standard recipe DFS. Storage at 4 degrees C for 2 months provided log(10) 0.33-0.95 additional VTEC reductions and were only marginally affected by recipe type. Sensory tests revealed only small differences between the various recipes of morr and salami. By optimisation of recipe and process parameters, it is possible to obtain increased microbial safety of DFS while maintaining the sensory qualities of the sausages.
2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.