Meat products are potential vehicles for transmitting foodborne pathogens like Salmonella, S. aureus, and L. monocytogenes. We aimed to evaluate (1) the effect of the meat's initial natural microbiota on Salmonella, S. aureus, and L. monocytogenes growth and survival in a batter to prepare a naturally fermented sausage, made with and without curing salts and wine (2) the effect of a lactic acid bacteria (LAB) starter culture and wine on the survival of the three pathogens during the manufacturing of a naturally fermented sausage made with meat with a low initial microbial load. The results revealed that the reduced contamination that is currently expected in raw meat is favorable for the multiplication of pathogens due to reduced competition. The inhibitory effect of nitrite and nitrate on Salmonella, S. aureus, and L. monocytogenes was confirmed, particularly when competition in meat was low. In any attempt to reduce or eliminate nitrite from naturally fermented sausages, the use of LAB starters should be considered to ensure an unfavorable competition environment for pathogens. In the experiment with naturally fermented sausage, chouriço, the reduction in aw strongly inhibited the challenged pathogens, particularly when a LAB starter culture and wine were used.
Keywords: Listeria monocytogenes; Salmonella; Staphylococcus aureus; foodborne pathogens; lactic acid bacteria; naturally fermented sausage; nitrite; spoilage microbiota; starter culture; wine.