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TABLE 4-2 Hurdles That Could Be Added to Counteract Microbial Activity in Sodium-Reduced Foods




Organic acids



Fatty acid esters

Ingredients with natural antimicrobial properties (e.g., spice extracts, smoke)

Potassium chloride

Additional heating

Cooler storage


Irradiation (e.g., electron beam)

Hydrostatic pressure processing

Controlled-atmosphere storage or packaging

Bacteriocins (e.g., nisin)

Protective cultures

SOURCES: Barbut et al., 1986; Doyle et al., 2001; Rybka-Rodgers, 2001.

servatives have been shown to be somewhat effective at retarding growth and toxin production by pathogens. The effectiveness of alternative salts relative to sodium chloride seems to vary based on the pathogen of interest (Barbut et al., 1986).

Partially replacing salt with other compounds, such as potassium chloride and calcium chloride, may also be possible in fermented products (Bautista-Gallego et al., 2008; Reddy and Marth, 1991; Yumani et al., 1999). However, these alternatives may be less effective than salt so higher concentrations may be needed in formulations to achieve the same functionality (Bautista-Gallego et al., 2008).

Some predictive models have been developed that may be promising methods of screening new product formulations for their potential to grow pathogenic microorganisms. A large study conducted by Kraft foods (Legan et al., 2004) modeled the impact of salt on the growth of L. monocytogenes and used this modeling technique to establish no-growth formulations of cured meat products that contain lactate and diacetate to prevent growth of L. monocytogenes.


Salt can play a role in the development of physical properties of foods that are beneficial for processing or developing final product qualities. For example, salt levels play an important role in controlling the stickiness of some doughs, easing the processing of some baked goods (Hutton, 2002; Vetter, 1981). In meats, cheeses, and extruded snack products (e.g., cheese balls, shaped potato snacks), salt can help develop the characteristic texture expected by consumers (Desmond, 2007; Guinee and Fox, 2004; Guinee and O’Kennedy, 2007; Hedrick et al., 1994). For example, in cheeses, salt

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