Submitted to: American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2017
Publication Date: 8/20/2017
Citation: Gurtler, J., Niemira, B.A. 2017. Food safety intervention research at the Eastern Regional Research Center: innovative sanitizers, natural antimicrobials and nonthermal processing technologies. [Abstract]. American Chemical Society National Meeting., Washington, DC., Volume 1, Page 1.
Technical Abstract: Foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7cause millions of illnesses every year. A variety of technologies have been advanced in recent years to expand on the suite of tools available to food processors. At the US Department of Agriculture’s Eastern Regional Research Center, scientists and engineers have focused on developing new ways to improve food safety and shelf life while retaining quality and nutritional value. From long standing research projects on nonthermal processing technologies such as irradiation and high pressure to newer approaches such as advanced antimicrobial sanitizers, cold plasma, high intensity light treatments and active packaging, the food safety research at ERRC has addressed key aspects of efficacy, scalability and practicality. Among the innovative technologies being developed is First Step+ 10, a newly developed mixed peroxyacid antimicrobial produce wash. Under CLEAN conditions, 0.5 percent to 1.0 percent produce wash achieved >6 log reduction of L. monocytogenes in 5 minutes. Under DIRTY conditions 0.5 percent inactivated >4.0 log CFU/ml. Wash waters inactivated up to 3.59 log of pathogens on fresh cut produce. In another field of research at ERRC, application of biochar to soil inactivated E. coli O157:H7 (EHEC), to undetectable levels by week 4. In positive-control soils, E. coli O157:H7 populations remained as high as 5.8 and 4.0 log CFU/g at weeks 4 and 5. These results are the first to suggest that biochar enhances the inactivation of EHEC in cultivable soil. This presentation will give an overview of these research efforts, and the validation steps that are required for scaling up to commercialization.