Sodium Chloride Does Not Ensure Microbiological Safety of Foods: Cases and Solutions

Nam Hee Kim, Tae Jin Cho, Min-Suk Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Addition of salt or salt-containing water to food is one of the oldest and most effective preservation methods in history; indeed, salt-cured foods are generally recognized as microbiologically safe due to their high salinity. However, a number of microbiological risks remain. The microbiological hazards and risks associated with salt-cured foods must be addressed more in-depth as they are likely to be underestimated by previous studies. This review examined a number of scientific reports and articles about the microbiological safety of salt-cured foods, which included salted, brined, pickled, and/or marinated vegetables, meat, and seafood. The following subjects are covered in order: (1) clinical cases and outbreaks attributed to salt-cured foods; (2) the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in such foods; (3) the molecular, physiological, and virulent responses of the pathogens to the presence of NaCl in both laboratory media and food matrices; (4) the survival and fate of microorganisms in salt-cured foods (in the presence/absence of additional processes); and (5) the interaction between NaCl and other stressors in food processes (e.g., acidification, antimicrobials, drying, and heating). The review provides a comprehensive overview of potentially hazardous pathogens associated with salt-cured foods and suggests further research into effective intervention techniques that will reduce their levels in the food chain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Applied Microbiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Bacterial response
  • Brining
  • Fate
  • Foodborne pathogens
  • Marinating
  • Microbiological food safety
  • Pickling
  • Salt-curing
  • Salting
  • Sodium chloride
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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