Modification of a predictive model to include the influence of fat content on salmonella inactivation in low-water-activity foods

Lisa M. Trimble, Joseph F. Frank, Donald W. Schaffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Low-water-activity (aw) foods (including those containing fat) are often implicated in outbreaks of Salmonella spp. The influence of fat content on survival in foods such as peanut butter remains unclear. Certain Salmonella serovars can survive for long periods in harsh temperatures and low moisture conditions. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of fat content on the survival of Salmonella in low-aw foods and expand an existing secondary inactivation model previously validated for lower-fat foods. Whey protein powder supplemented with peanut oil was equilibrated to five target aw values (aw , 0.60), inoculated with a dried four-strain cocktail of Salmonella, vacuum sealed, and stored at 22, 37, 50, 60, 70, and 80°C for 48 h, 28 days, or 168 days. Survival data were fitted to Weibull, Biphasic-linear, Double Weibull, and Geeraerd-tail models. The Weibull model was chosen for secondary modeling due to its ability to satisfactorily describe the data over most of the conditions under study. The influence of temperature, fat content, and aw on the Weibull model parameters was evaluated using nonlinear least squares regression, and a revised secondary model was developed based on parameter significance. Peanut butter, chia seed powder, toasted oat cereal, and animal crackers within the aw range of the model were used to validate the modified model within its temperature range. Fat content influenced survival in samples held at temperatures ≥50°C, whereas aw influenced survival at 37 and 708C. The model predictions demonstrated improved % bias and % discrepancy compared with the previous model. Weibull model predictions were accurate and fail-safe in 38 and 58%, respectively, of the food and environmental conditions under study. Predictions were less reliable for peanut butter held at 808C. This study provides data and a model that can aid in the development of risk mitigation strategies for low-aw foods containing fat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-815
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


  • Lipids
  • Peanut butter
  • Thermal inactivation
  • Weibull model


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