Reduction of Salmonella enterica and Pathogenic Escherichia coli in Pasta by Using Common Cooking Methods
Recent outbreaks and recalls associated with Salmonella enterica and pathogenic Escherichia coli in flour, a major ingredient in pasta, have prompted assessment of the microbiological lethality of cooking methods used to prepare dry pasta products for consumption. In this study, three types of dry pasta inoculated with multistrain cocktails of S. enterica and pathogenic E. coli were subjected to typical cooking treatments: elbow noodles were exposed to microwave cooking (2.5 min on high setting; minimum power output of 720 W) as part of an “elbow noodles in a cup” product, flat noodles were cooked on a stovetop in boiling water (6 min in boiling water), and no-boil lasagna noodles were exposed to baking as part of a three-layer lasagna (50 min in an oven preheated to 204°C). The average population levels of S. enterica and pathogenic E. coli in all three types of the dry noodles were >6.5 log most probable number per gram. Each cooking method evaluated reduced S. enterica and pathogenic E. coli population levels to 6-log reductions. The results of this study demonstrate that the cooking processes evaluated are capable of mitigating the microbiological food safety risks associated with dry pasta.
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