Antibody-linked probes were used to locate nisin in a fermented meat system. Free nisin or nisin bound to susceptible cells or food components was not detected. Colonies of nisin-producing Lactococcus lactis were stained at all times during growth. The position of nisin-producing L. lactis colonies was noted and compared with the location of spoilage organisms or the distribution of areas with a fermented meat appearance. No relationship between the distribution of starter culture and the location of spoilage organisms or areas of fermentation was observed. In addition to the presence of L. lactis, a rapidly fermentable sugar was also required to obtain a fermented appearance and to reduce the levels of spoilage organisms.