Tea reduces Listeria, E. coli in meats

Friday 9 March 2007

Take a serving of extracts from green tea or Jasmine tea, mix in some wildflower dark honey and you have something more useful than a drink. It's actually a scientific mixture that can be used to reduce pathogenic bacteria in meats.

"Our results indicated that Jasmine tea with honey and green tea with honey had the highest antimicrobial activity," said Daniel Fung, the Kansas State University food science professor who supervised the research for the Food Safety Consortium.

The tests were first conducted in a liquid medium and found that the tea extract and honey treatments caused significant reductions of Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. "That's not surprising," Fung said. "In liquid medium, it's easier for the compounds to interact with the organisms in liquid."

Treating turkey breast slice with combinations of Jasmine tea extract and wildflower dark honey reduced Listeria monocytogenes by 10 to 20 percent. Similar reductions of the pathogen were recorded when applied to hot dogs.

The most successful reductions in hot dogs were in those that had been commercially treated with sodium lactate, potassium lactate and sodium diacetate. "In that type of hot dogs, it has much more suppressive effect than in some of the hot dogs without those compounds," Fung explained. "There is a synergistic effect of the tea and honey along with those compounds with lactate already in the hot dog."

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