Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2005
Publication Date: 8/1/2005
Citation: Nacmcf, Luchansky, J.B., Beuchat, L., Donnelly, C., Doores, S., Engeljohn, D., Farrar, J., Jaykus, L., Lammerding, A., Maddox, C., Morales, R., Ruple, A., Scott, V., Seward, S., Swanson, K. 2005. Requisite scientific parameters for establishing the equivalence of alternative methods of pasteurization. Journal of Food Protection. 69(5):1190-1216. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: In response to the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 which calls for a broadening of the definition of pasteurization, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) was charged with determining requisite scientific parameters for establishing the equivalence of alternative methods of pasteurization. NACMCF agreed to the following definition of ‘pasteurization’ to guide its work. Any process, treatment, or combination thereof, that is applied to food to reduce the most resistant microorganism(s) of public health significance to a level that is not likely to present a public health risk under normal conditions of distribution and storage. The Committee recognizes that pasteurization does not necessarily achieve commercial sterility and many pasteurized foods must be frozen or refrigerated to preserve product quality. While some pasteurization processes are based on traditional thermal pasteurization, alternative non-thermal processes and combinations of processes and treatments for pathogen reduction can be equally effective. NACMCF recommends that regulatory agencies establish a Food Safety Objective (FSO) and/or a performance standard for food/pathogen combinations that can be used as the basis for judging equivalency when a proposed process is evaluated as an alternative to traditional pasteurization. Research needed to determine the equivalency of new pasteurization processes is technology dependent. All pasteurization processes need to be validated through the use of process authorities, challenge studies, predictive modeling, and/or safe harbors. All pasteurization processes must be verified to ensure critical processing limits are achieved. As new technologies are applied commercially, consumer research is needed to develop label statements about pasteurization that are understood by consumers.