Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/27/2007
Publication Date: 10/1/2007
Citation: Juneja, V.K., Luchansky, J.B. 2007. Overview of Predictive Microbiology Research in the Microbial Food Safety Research Unit at the USDA-Eastern Regional Research Center . Meeting Abstract.
Technical Abstract: The Microbial Food Safety Research Unit (MFSRU) maintains a commitment to high quality basic and applied research on pathogenic bacteria and virus to ensure a safe food supply. Their research addresses high priority U.S. national needs by developing technical information and technologies needed by Federal regulatory agencies, the food industry, consumers, and the international scientific community. The research program is directed in four overlapping areas: i) develop strategies and technologies to prevent bacterial and viral pathogens from entering the food chain or to cause their destruction if present; ii) exploit functional genomics/proteomics to detect and type pathogens and to analyze genes involved in their regulation or manifestation of resistance, viability, and/or virulence; iii) develop risk assessment strategies and mathematical models to predict the growth, survival, and death of pathogens; and iv) investigate the effect of food environments on pathogen survival succession, virulence, and detection/enumeration. The primary focus of this presentation is to provide an overview of the Predictive Microbiology Information Portal (PMIP; http://www.ars.usda.gov/naa/errc/mfsru/portal), that was recently launched by the MFSRU. The current version is particularly useful to small and very small processing companies in the use and interpretation of models that predict the growth of pathogens in foods and in the acquisition of regulations and other information of relevance to the safety, quality, and wholesomeness of foods, particularly ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. A key feature is the on-line access to the Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP; http://www.ars.usda.gov/naa/errc/mfsru/pmp). The PMP presently contains some 40 models, of which 65% are directly in foods and 35% are broth models, and includes both static and dynamic temperature models. These models allow users to predict food formulation, as well as processing and handling conditions, to control the growth, survival, and death of various bacterial foodborne pathogens. The PMP has become a premier international modeling tool that is also used by government agencies and food processing companies in the management of food safety systems and is downloaded more than 8,000 times each year in over 35 countries. Once downloaded, user-friendly features allow the client to easily input food-relevant criteria and then to receive predictions about how pathogenic bacteria react to specific food environments. This presentation will address the key features and usefulness of the PMIP for enhancing the safety RTE meats.