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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 #336743

Research Project: Development and Validation of Innovative Food Processing Interventions

Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research

Title: Selection, validation and utility of pathogen surrogate bacteria used in food safety challenge studies: A Review

item HU, MENGYI - Drexel University
item Gurtler, Joshua

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2017
Publication Date: 8/1/2017
Citation: Hu, M., Gurtler, J. 2017. Selection, validation and utility of pathogen surrogate bacteria used in food safety challenge studies: A Review. Journal of Food Protection. 80:1506-1536.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Non-pathogenic surrogate bacteria are prevalently used in a variety of food challenge studies in place of foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Clostridium botulinum, due to safety and sanitary concerns. Surrogate bacteria should demonstrate similar growth characteristics and/or inactivation kinetics to target pathogens under given conditions in challenge studies. It is of great importance to carefully select and validate potential surrogate bacteria when verifying microbial inactivation processes. However, a considerable amount of food studies involving surrogate bacteria lack convincing validation sources or adequate validation processes. Most of the validation information of certain surrogates in these studies is anecdotal, which comes from previous publications, but may not be sufficient for chosen conditions in select studies. This review is limited to a discussion of the general criteria and approaches of selecting potential surrogate bacteria, as well as standards for validating the suitability of surrogate bacteria under given conditions. The review also collates a portion of documented bacterial pathogen surrogates, as well as the corresponding food products and treatments tested, in the hope of providing guidance for future studies involving surrogate bacteria.