Submitted to: The Wiley Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 20, 2009
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Citation: Sheen, S. 2009. Applications for predictive microbiology to food packaging. The Wiley Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology. p. 59-63. Technical Abstract: Predictive microbiology has been used for several years in the food industry to predict microbial growth, inactivation and survival. Predictive models provide a useful tool in risk assessment, HACCP set-up and GMP for the food industry to enhance microbial food safety. This report introduces the currently available predictive microbiological models for food packaging applications. Since packaging may be the last step in food processing operations, it accumulates the consequences of microbial transfer, growth, inactivation and survival that cascade along the food manufacturing process. Packaging functions as a protective barrier to environmental changes and potential abuses, possibly leading to food spoilage. In general, food processing operations should eliminate or reduce harmful levels of microbes to a safe level before the packaging step, further providing a means to control food qualities, including foodborne hazards. Microbiological shelf life can be estimated or predicted using mathematical models, if available and properly applied. Examples are used to demonstrate model selection and applications in packaged foods through the Predictive Microbiology Information Portal (PMIP) website which also serves as a gateway to locate other databases, food regulations and other useful food safety related information.