Start Date: May 20, 2010
End Date: Feb 09, 2011
An integrated approach to enhance microbial safety while maintaining product quality will be adopted by combining efficacious treatments and processes with antimicrobial packaging. After evaluation and modification of current antimicrobial treatments and processes, intervention technologies and process that have been demonstrated to be effective in inactivating human pathogens will be optimized to obtain a minimum 3 log CFU/g reduction of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella on leafy green vegetables, tomatoes and other RTE foods. Novel intervention technologies will also be explored and evaluated. The impact of efficacious chemical and physical intervention technologies on sensory properties, nutrients, and shelf-life will be evaluated using the intensity (time, concentration, dose etc.) that achieves the same (3 log CFU/g) reduction of the pathogens. In addition, new formula will be developed to minimize risk of pathogen contamination during treatment while inhibiting tissue browning of cut produce. Furthermore, accumulation of chemical by-products as a result of chemical sanitizers and physical interventions will be investigated. Antimicrobial packaging as the final defense against human pathogens will be developed for a variety of food products to reduce or control the re-growth of surviving pathogens during storage. Finally, combinations of various intervention technologies with antimicrobial packaging will be evaluated for additive or synergistic inhibition of pathogens and preservation of product quality. Developing and modifying treatment conditions to minimize adverse effects of intervention technologies will be a focus in the later period of the project.