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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has looked at the source of flavor differences in beef, pork, lamb, and veal to find out what happens when it's aged in storage. A USDA ARS scientist changed the way that fermented meats like pepperoni and Genoa salami are made. The scientist found that a bacterial starter stimulates faster, more consistent fermentation than traditional methods and guarantees a better product. USDA ARS scientists discovered that just about all processed meats can be made with 20 to 25 percent less salt with no risk of spoilage. Proper refrigeration, it turns out, is more important than salt level in retarding the growth of microorganisms that cause spoilage. USDA photo by Scott Bauer.

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Taken on February 7, 2013