Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate Enterococcus faecium NRRL B-2354 as a potential thermal surrogate organism for Salmonella for in-plant validation studies of raisin.
Methods: E. faecium NRRL B-2354 and Salmonella were streaked onto Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA) and harvested using 0.1% peptone. Raisin samples (400 ± 1 g) were inoculated with 25 ml of the pooled inocula. Inoculated raisins were stored for up to 72 hr at 24 ± 2ºC to let them dry. Inoculated raisins were heat treated in an isotemp oven at 180°F.
Results: The thermal inactivation rates of Salmonella and E. faecium NRRL B-2354 were compared. The counts of E. faecium NRRL B-2354 were reduced by 0.6 log after 14 min and 3.3 log after 28 min at 180°F. The thermal reductions values for Salmonella were 1.4 log after 14 min and 6.1 log after 28 min at 180°F.
Significance: The data showed that E. faecium NRRL B-2354 was 1.4 times more heat resistant than Salmonella in raisin and could be used as a nonpathogenic surrogate for in-plant trials.