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Pecan Shell Extracts May Provide Antimicrobial Option for Preventing Listeria in Organic Meats

The majority of consumers that eat or buy organic products do not want synthetic antimicrobials or antioxidants added to their foods

by Institute of Food Technologists
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Pecans and other nuts arranged in a swirling patternA study has found that pecan shell extracts may provide an antimicrobial option for preventing listeria in organic meats.Scott Bauer, Wikimedia CommonsCHICAGO—The majority of consumers that eat or buy organic products do not want synthetic antimicrobials or antioxidants added to their foods and prefer a “clean label”. A study in the Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) showed that extracts from pecan shells may be effective at protecting meats, such as chicken from listeria growth.

Unroasted and roasted organic pecan shells were subjected to organic extraction processes to produce antimicrobials that were tested against Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes bacteria. The effectiveness of pecan shell extracts were further tested using poultry skin to see how much these extracts inhibited bacterial growth of Listeria.

When this all-natural antimicrobial was tested on raw chicken skin it decreased the levels of pathogens by 100 times and at the same time reduced the levels of spoilage organisms by more than 1,000 times, thus greatly increasing the shelf life of the chicken.  The researchers concluded that the natural pecan shell extracts may prove to be an effective alternative antimicrobial against food pathogens and supplement the demand for organic antimicrobials.

Read the abstract in the Journal of Food Science here.