- This study aimed to determine the efficacy of baking to reduce bacterial populations (an unknown contaminant or Salmonella) in cookie dough. Baking conditions (time and temperature parameters) were selected based on conditions commonly used in industry. The first study (Chapter 2), “Baking as Validation for Control of Coliform Counts in Cookie Dough”, focuses on baking as means of controlling high plate counts found in cookie dough supplied by an industry partner. The second study (Chapter 3), “Validation of Baking as a Kill-Step for Salmonella and D-Value Determination for Inoculated Ingredients in Cookie Dough”, validates baking as a kill-step to reduce Salmonella populations. In addition, this study examined whether the efficacy of baking was dependent on the contaminated ingredient. These studies demonstrated that baking is an effective lethal treatment to reduce vegetative cells (natural microbiota and Salmonella), but has minimal impact on spore populations. Baking effectively reduced Salmonella in cookies that made from contaminated flour, butter, eggs, and peanut butter; however, baking was less effective at inactivating Salmonella in contaminated chocolate.
Key Words: Lethal Treatments, Kill-step, Baking, Salmonella, Food Safety, Cookies, Chocolate