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Ben Williams

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AHDB Pork Knowledge Exchange

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Shelf life of meat in relation to Clostridium botulinum

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Research partners: Institute of Food Research

Sponsors: AHDB Pork, EBLEX, HCC

Duration: 2010 – 2011 

Aims and objectives 

  • To demonstrate whether normal conditions in vacuum packed raw meat provide conditions under which the growth and toxin production of C.botulinum is inhibited
  • To report the results in a form that could be presented to the Food Standards Agency to modify their guidelines or be used by food business operators to demonstrate an extended shelf life is acceptable within the “any other combinations” part of the guidelines.

 Findings

  • The data available on growth of non-proteolytic C. botulinum in fresh meat is limited and confused; it suggests that the probability of growth and toxin formation in refrigerated raw meat may be low but it can occur
  • There does not appear to be sufficient scientific evidence to support a shelf-life of greater than 10 days at 8°C in fresh red meat; the position at 5°C is less clear
  • The results do not support strong recommendations for changes to practice
  • The possibility of further research is under consideration.

 Further information

Download Final report