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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Microbial and Chemical Food Safety » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #208414

Title: Intervention Strategies for Pathogen Control and the USDA Pathogen Modeling Program

item Juneja, Vijay

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2007
Publication Date: 3/7/2007
Citation: Juneja, V.K. 2007. Intervention Strategies for Pathogen Control and the USDA Pathogen Modeling Program. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Despite stricter regulatory standards, commercial standards, and better methods for controlling microorganisms, the increasing numbers of illnesses associated with foodborne pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7, has renewed concerns about the safety of our food supply. Accordingly, the need for better control of foodborne pathogens has been paramount in recent years. Recent research has explored or employed physical, chemical or biological interventions to kill, remove or reduce pathogens in foods. For ready-to-eat meat products, examples of antimicrobials in the formulation or applied as dipping/spraying solutions before packaging include acetates, diacetates, lactates, glucono-delta-lactone, plant essential oils, nisin, acidic calcium sulfate with propionic and lactic acid, and/or combinations of these food grade chemicals. Alternatively, post-lethality treatments such as hot water, steam pasteurization, vacuum-steam-vacuum cycles, ionizing radiation, and high hydrostatic pressure are applied pre- or post-packaging of product. Biopreservatives using lactic acid bacteria and the use of bacteriophage are additional approaches to control pathogens on RTE products. However, heat treatment is the most common method in use today for the inactivation of microorganisms. The effects and interactions of temperature, pH, sodium chloride content, sodium pyrophosphate, and sodium lactate concentration are among the variables that were considered when attempting to assess the heat inactivation kinetics of E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, Salmonella spp. and spores of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum in ground muscle foods of different species. Incorporation of these multiple barriers increased the sensitivity of pathogens to heat, thereby reducing the time and temperature needed to cook and ensuring the safety of ready-to-eat food products. Predictive inactivation kinetics (thermal death) models for foodborne pathogens have been converted into an easy-to-use Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP) that is available on the USDA-ARS- Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) website. A Predictive Microbiology Information Portal (PMIP) has been developed by ERRC to assist small and very small processing companies in the use and interpretation of PMP models. In addition, PMIP can assist in locating and retrieving regulatory information, predictive models, research data and numerous food safety related links associated with the models.