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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Alternative Food Processing Technologies

Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies

Project Number: 1935-42000-073-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 06, 2011
End Date: Jan 05, 2016

Objective:
The overall goal of this project is to determine the inactivation kinetics for foodborne pathogens suspended in foods treated using nonthermal process interventions (e.g., ionizing radiation and high pressure processing). 1. Determine gamma radiation D10 values of foodborne pathogens in ground meat and poultry with emphasis on a genetically-diverse set of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC). 2. Determine the effect of product temperature on the radiation resistance of foodborne pathogens suspended in ground meat and poultry products with emphasis on Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC). 3. Determine the high pressure processing inactivation kinetics of foodborne pathogens in ground meat and poultry with emphasis on a genetically-diverse set of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC).

Approach:
Non-O157 serovars of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are now responsible for over 60% of STEC induced illnesses. The majority of illnesses caused by non-O157:H7 STEC have been due to serovars O26, O121, O103, O45, O111, and O145 which are now considered adulterants in beef and beef products by USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). Currently, there are two non-thermal intervention technologies being used to inactivate foodborne pathogens internalized in ground meat and poultry products, viz., ionizing radiation (IR) and high pressure processing (HPP). There is little data on the use of these technologies to inactivate these emerging STEC in food products. Recently, the use of IR for treatment of meat at non-refrigeration temperatures was approved by the FDA. There is little or no data available to describe inactivation kinetics for foodborne pathogens suspended in raw meat, which can now be irradiated at non-refrigeration temperatures. In addition, there is little information available regarding the association between genetic markers, attachment and aggregation, Shiga-toxin production, virulence factors, antibiotic resistance, etc. as relates to the ability of IR, HPP, or other intervention technologies to inactivate the STEC. The goal of this research is to improve development and validation of intervention technologies, in combination with metagenomics, to provide regulatory agencies the necessary information to complete new risk assessments for foodborne pathogens. We want to know if STEC virulence makes any difference when trying to kill them, and do regulatory agencies and industry need to make policy changes for use of intervention technologies?

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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