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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #294034

Title: Predictive microbiology in food packaging applications

item Sheen, Shiowshuh - Allen

Submitted to: Wiley Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2013
Publication Date: 10/9/2013
Citation: Sheen, S. 2013. Predictive microbiology in food packaging applications. Wiley Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology. Enclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology:Bioprocess, Bioseparation, and Cell Technology, edited by Michael C. Flickinger.PP:1-7

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Predictive microbiology including growth, inactivation, surface transfer (or cross-contamination), and survival, plays important roles in understanding microbial food safety. Growth models may involve the growth potential of a specified pathogen under different stresses, e.g., temperature, pH, water activity, added preservatives, and so on. These growth models may also take into account other environmental factors, which include modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) conditions, food packaging, transportation, distribution, and consumer abuse. Thermal and/or nonthermal processes to reduce or eliminate microbial counts may be evaluated using inactivation models. Transfer models may predict bacterial (pathogen) transfer between processing equipment and other contact surfaces. For the entire microbial safety assessment in a packaged product, a microbial transfer model can be applied to estimate the quantity of contamination, followed by the growth and/or inactivation models with designed process conditions to predict the potential risk. With all information properly collected and built into the models, the users may select the parameters to match the packaging conditions and to predict food shelf life, for example, fresh-cut packaged ready-to-eat vegetables. Other packaging-related models may apply to the model developing step, which describes the entire production process to achieve the shelf-life assessment. Users also can utilize the models and database in the Predictive Microbiology Information Portal (PMIP) to develop/establish food-safety challenge studies for their new products. The Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP) and Combase, which are accessible through PMIP, may provide useful tools for microbial-safety-related shelf-life optimization and packaging design.