Project Number: 1935-42000-073-00
Start Date: Jan 06, 2011
End Date: Jan 05, 2016
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?