Researchers led by Dr Vivian Chi Hua at the University of Maine in the US have found that adding natural cranberry concentrate to raw minced beef can significantly reduce the growth of common foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella, Listeria and Escherichia coli.
The findings may help the meat industry to lengthen the shelf life of products without chemicals additives and preservatives.
Meat manufacturers may be able to add natural cranberry concentrate to raw meat to reduce the risk of it harbouring harmful bacteria, thus lengthening shelf-life, avoiding waste and removing E-numbers from product labels.
In the trials, ground beef samples inoculated with four pathogens were treated with cranberry concentrate or sterile water as a control and kept at either 21ºC or 7ºC.
Pathogens and total viable bacteria were counted on days 1, 3, 5 and 7.
Results showed that compared to the control, cranberry concentrate significantly inhibited foodborne pathogens in ground beef at both 7ºC and 21ºC.
Other health benefits
Cranberries are well known for their unique anti-adhesion capabilities, which are responsible for protecting the urinary tract, stomach and mouth from harmful bacteria.
The anti-adhesion effect is primarily due to the unique structure of the proanthocyanidins (PACs) present in cranberries.
These compounds also deliver intense anti-oxidant activity, which helps to promote good heart health and flushes out harmful free-radicals.
The evidence to support the benefit of cranberries in reducing the risk of food poisoning strenghtens the fruit’s extensive range of nutraceutical effects.
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