Development and validation of a stochastic model for potential growth of Listeria monocytogenes in naturally contaminated lightly preserved seafood

Ole Mejlholm, Niels Bøknæs, Paw Dalgaard

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A new stochastic model for the simultaneous growth of Listeria monocytogenes and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) was developed and validated on data from naturally contaminated samples of cold-smoked Greenland halibut (CSGH) and cold-smoked salmon (CSS). During industrial processing these samples were added acetic and/or lactic acids. The stochastic model was developed from an existing deterministic model including the effect of 12 environmental parameters and microbial interaction (O. Mejlholm and P. Dalgaard, Food Microbiology, submitted for publication). Observed maximum population density (MPD) values of L. monocytogenes in naturally contaminated samples of CSGH and CSS were accurately predicted by the stochastic model based on measured variability in product characteristics and storage conditions. Results comparable to those from the stochastic model were obtained, when product characteristics of the least and most preserved sample of CSGH and CSS were used as input for the existing deterministic model. For both modelling approaches, it was shown that lag time and the effect of microbial interaction needs to be included to accurately predict MPD values of L. monocytogenes. Addition of organic acids to CSGH and CSS was confirmed as a suitable mitigation strategy against the risk of growth by L. monocytogenes as both types of products were in compliance with the EU regulation on ready-to-eat foods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue numberPart B
Pages (from-to)276–289
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Stochastic model
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Naturally contaminated products
  • Cold-smoked fish
  • Microbial interaction

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