Food dyes could improve deli slicer food safety

Meatingplace reports this morning that two approved red food dyes, FD&C No. 3 and No. 40, stain the protein and fat in bologna and turkey lunchmeat and may help deli managers quickly determine areas of listeria contamination, according to a study by University of Arkansas researchers funded by the American Meat Institute Foundation.

Researchers noted that use of a 1:1,000 dilution of the dyes could enable deli managers to determine whether additional cleaning is required before sanitizing the slicker or beginning operations.

Researchers also found that heating deli slicer components in moist oven conditions caused a five-log reduction of listeria within three hours at 82 degrees C. However, because this treatment would not be feasible to use on an assembled deli slicer because of potential damage to the electrical components, continuing research involves using various sanitizers alone and in combination with moist heat to reduce potential listeria contamination of disassembled stainless steel and aluminum deli components.