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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies

2011 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To reduce the risk of food borne illness associated with the consumption of meat and poultry, seafood and aquaculture, and complex ready-to-eat foods while maintaining product quality and extending shelf-life. The specific objectives of the research program are as follows: .
1)Utilize microbiological and molecular techniques to determine the effect of intervention technologies on microbial physiology, virulence and injury in order to assist in the design of effective process interventions;.
2)Develop and validate nonthermal and advanced thermal intervention technologies such as ionizing and UV radiation, radio-frequency and microwave heating, vacuum-steam-vacuum processing and ozonation to inactivate pathogens and spoilage microorganisms in raw and ready-to-eat meat and poultry, seafood and aquaculture products, and related complex solid foods, in combination with GRAS food additives;.
3)Define the impact of non-thermal and advanced thermal intervention technologies on food quality and chemistry.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
D-values and the growth potential in shelf-life studies will be determined for foodborne pathogens using inoculated products following application of non-thermal and advanced thermal technologies. Particular attention will be focused on the use of multiple technologies, commonly known as the hurdle approach, to inactivate pathogens in foods. The effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors such as processing variables, and product composition (temperature, dose, atmosphere, GRAS additives, pH, moisture, etc.) will be determined. Effects of interventions on the chemistry of foods and the formation and biological effect of toxicological markers will be determined using GC and GC-MS based technologies and bioassays.

3.Progress Report
This progress report addresses NP108 Food Safety Action Plan Component 1D (Intervention and Control Strategies). The milestones to develop, validate, and commercialize non-thermal and advanced thermal process interventions have been fully met. Research to improve the safety and shelf-life of processed meats such as frankfurters and other ready-to-eat (RTE) meats has been completed. This research has resulted in the commercialization of technologies including the use of infrared and hot water pasteurization for inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes on RTE products by two Philadelphia area meat processors. The Flash Pasteurization has been commercialized and is now used by meat processors in North, Central, and South America. The ARS/CRADA partner technology transfer team received the 2011 National Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Award for successful development and commercialization of that technology. Research on the use of ultraviolet light to decontaminate food resulted in commercialization of the process by two major produce processors to improve the safety and shelf-life of frozen produce and dried fruits and nuts. Our research on the safety of 2-alkylcyclobutanones was cited in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for irradiation of mollusks, and contributed to the commercialization of raw oysters irradiation in 2009. In other research the use of ionizing radiation to improve the microbiological safety of seafood was completed in order to assist the FDA evaluate a petition to allow irradiation of crustaceans in the U.S. The ionizing radiation doses needed to obtain a five log reduction of Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and L. monocytogenes, which is required before a product can be labeled as pasteurized, were identified. With the closing of research to improve the safety of ready-to-eat foods, our research efforts have shifted to support the research needs of USDA FSIS Office of Catfish Inspection Programs. The 2008 Farm Bill transferred inspection of catfish and catfish processing facilities from the FDA to FSIS. Project scientists worked with two 1890s institutions (Delaware State University and Cheyney University) and USDA FSIS to determine the microbiological quality and incidence of chemical contaminants of retail catfish in the northeast U.S. In addition, this project has been chosen to assess the in-plant microbiological safety of catfish that is needed by USDA FSIS Office of Catfish Inspection Programs in 2011 and 2012. We have initiated research on the use of alternative process interventions to improve the safety and shelf-life of catfish and other seafood products in support of USDA FSIS research needs. More detail concerning research on catfish and seafood safety projects may be found in the annual report for new Project 1935-42000-073-00D Alternative Food Processing Technologies.

Review Publications
Huang, L., Sheen, S. 2011. Quantitative analysis of vertical translocation and lateral cross-contamination of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during mechanical tenderization of beef. Journal of Food Safety. 31:108-114.

Sommers, C.H., Rajkowski, K.T. 2011. Radiation inactivation of foodborne pathogens on frozen seafood products. Journal of Food Protection. 74(4):641-644.

Sommers, C.H., Niemira, B.A. 2011. Inactivation of avirulent Yersinia pestis in beef bologna by gamma irradiation. Journal of Food Protection. 74(4):627-630.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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