A study was conducted to see if whey protein concentrate (WPC) films could be used as carriers for antimicrobial agents and be used as barriers against microorganisms commonly found on beef frankfurters. One of the main problem organisms found on beef frankfurters is Listeria monocytogenes. This organism causes listeriosis which can lead to serious food-borne illness in humans. By creating an antimicrobial barrier, this organism could be controlled more effectively.
An optimal mix of antimicrobial agents was used in the WPC films in an in vitro study. The WPC films performed very well in guarding against Listeria monocytogenes. The WPC film was also tested to see if it had any detrimental effects on the color, odor, texture and freshness attributes of the frankfurters. A sensory panel showed no negative effects from the WPC films and the panelists preferred the WPC film and the control frankfurters equally. An added bonus was that the WPC film protected the frankfurters from exploding due to steam buildup during rapid cooking.
More studies need to be done on the commercial application of this type of product and the cost of doing so.