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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Risk Assessment of Foods Processed Using Nonthermal Intervention Technologies

Author
item Sommers, Christopher

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2005
Publication Date: March 29, 2006
Citation: Sommers, C.H. 2006. Risk assessment of foods processed using nonthermal intervention technologies. ACS Annual Meeting. Atlanta, GA. 5/29/006. p. 1.

Technical Abstract: The use of non-thermal and thermal intervention technologies used to process and preserve foods results in the inactivation of pathogenic bacteria, parasites and viruses that negatively impact human health. Because of the efficacy of these technologies deaths in the U.S. related to foodborne illness have been reduced to approximately 5000 per year. However, while intervention technologies can improve the microbiological safety of foods, the chemical changes that result from food processing may increase consumer’s risks of gastrointestinal cancers. Possible chemical changes in foods as a result of processing include the oxidation of lipids to mutagenic forms, the formation of mutagenic aldehydes, nitrosamines, furan, and acrylamide. Excess consumption of foods preserved by salting, smoking, pickling has been associated with the generation of gastrointestinal cancers in humans. (Tsugane, 2005; Van den Brandt et al. 2003; Wu et al, 2001; Knekt et al., 1999; Weisburger, 1991; Ames and Gold, 1990). New non-thermal food processing technologies used to control pathogens and parasites, while retaining the freshness attributes of foods that consumers desire, have been identified and are being researched for possible commercial application. These technologies, to name a few, include Pulsed Electric Fields, Radio-Frequency Electric Fields, Biocontrol Measures, Pulsed and Static UV Light, and Cold Atmospheric Plasma. Yet a review of available peer reviewed scientific literature has revealed little information on the production of mutagenic or clastogenic compounds in foods treated using those technologies, or the results of any long-term feeding studies in animals to examine the risk of cancer associated with long-term consumption of such foods. Identification of mutagenic or clastogenic compounds generated in foods treated with novel intervention technologies, and the assessment of cancer risks associated with the consumption of such foods, when compared to more traditional food processing technologies, using FDA recommended test methods, should be completed prior their introduction into the marketplace and consumption by consumers.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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