Submitted to: Food Science and Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2018
Publication Date: 10/18/2018
Citation: Oscar, T.P. 2018. Short-term and long-term effects of pathogen reduction interventions on Salmonellosis from whole chickens. Food Science and Nutrition. 6:2515-2522. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.859.
Interpretive Summary: Salmonella bacteria are a leading cause of human foodborne illness (salmonellosis) throughout the world, and poultry products, especially eggs and chicken, are primary sources of human salmonellosis. A computer model that predicts risk of salmonellosis from whole chickens produced by different scenarios was used to evaluate short-term and long-term effects of pathogen reduction interventions. The computer simulation results indicated that current efforts to improve food safety by reducing consumer exposure to Salmonella might actually increase salmonellosis in the long-term. Thus, consideration should be given to expanding food safety efforts to include interventions, such as vaccination, proper nutrition, and stress reduction, which maintain consumer resistance to pathogens.
Technical Abstract: Application of pathogen reduction interventions throughout the farm-to-table chain is an approach being used to improve food safety. However, decreased exposure to pathogens may lower consumer resistance to foodborne illness and thus, reverse beneficial effects of pathogen reduction interventions on food safety. Thus, the current study was undertaken to evaluate short-term and long-term effects of pathogen reduction interventions on food safety. This was accomplished using a model that predicts risk of salmonellosis from whole chickens produced by different scenarios. Interventions investigated were a 50% pathogen reduction before retail (PR), a 50% pathogen reduction at serving by consumer education (CE), and a 75% pathogen reduction by PR+CE. Long-term effects were simulated by reducing consumer resistance by an amount equal to reductions in pathogen exposure caused by the interventions. In the short-term, salmonellosis (cases/100,000) was reduced (P < 0.05) from 0.42 to 0.21, 0.23, and 0.13 by PR, CE, and PR+CE, respectively. However, in the long-term, salmonellosis (cases/100,000) increased (P < 0.05) even in the presence of reduced exposure to Salmonella from 0.42 to 1.03, 1.08, and 2.20 by PR, CE, and PR+CE, respectively. Increased risk of salmonellosis from reduced consumer resistance was confirmed by simulating results from a published human refeeding trial. Together these results indicated that the food safety benefits of pathogen reduction interventions reversed with time because of a decrease in consumer resistance to foodborne illness. Thus, maintaining consumer resistance to pathogens is important for long-term success of pathogen reduction interventions applied throughout the food production chain.