Commercialization Fund: Development of a Value Added Food Processing Incubator

Grants and Contracts Details


The production of country-cured hams has taken place for centuries and is located predominately in the southeast region of the United States, especially in Kentucky. The viability of this profitable niche market is an essential aspect of value-added pork products. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has standards of production, including salt level, shrinkage and processing times/temperatures, which have been used to assure the safe production of this product. The product is also considered shelf-stable and generally displayed at ambient temperatures in retail markets. Although no food borne illnesses have been directly related to country hams there have been outbreaks in similar products such as dried sausages. Earlier work in our lab (as early as 1970 until 1997) at UK has suggested that certain pathogens can survive on packaged country ham products under refiigeration. This combined with an increase concern over the safety of the meat supply has lead to the need to validate the safety of this unique product. However, to date, no work has validated the efficacy of processing methods reducing pathogens to safe levels in country-cured hams. The implementation ofthe recent pathogen reduction act (Mega-Reg) has placed a greater amount of responsibility for validating the safety of the meat supply on individual companies. Therefore, the objective of the proposed research is to evaluate microbial intervention methods suitable for use with country ham products which will insure the successful economic viability of Kentucky Country Ham Producers. The impact of the development of a successful ._il1tervention method could sustain many further processing meat companies in the state.
Effective start/end date9/1/024/30/06


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $224,960.00


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