Start Date: Apr 08, 2006
End Date: Feb 09, 2011
Integrate disciplines of microbiology, engineering and chemistry to provide consumers with safe and high quality food products. Our microbiologists will lead the research in determining the mechanisms and kinetics of microbial inactivation, microbial shelf-life evaluations and product safety evaluations. Our engineers and food technologists will develop and validate novel processes and packaging technologies and evaluate associated cost. Our chemist and food technologists will lead the quality and shelf-life evaluations and consumer acceptance studies. From a food product point of view, the raw food materials will be processed and packaged to ensure safety and to maintain the fresh quality. Process conditions will be determined to achieve the food safety objectives set forth by the log reduction required for the pathogen of concern. Kinetics of microbial inactivation and models provide process set points to achieve food safety objectives. The kinetic models also serve as tools for risk assessment when deviations take place in raw product composition, microbial load and/or processing conditions. Identification of the mechanisms of microbial inactivation will help understand the process and define the direction in process optimization. We will also work with our collaborators in regulatory agencies, industry and other ARS laboratories, to identify the pathogens of concern and suitable surrogates and to define food safety objectives for each product.