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Enhancing Food Safety Through Control of Foodborne Disease Agents

Weller, Curtis
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Start date
End date
  1. Develop or improve for control or eliminate of pathogens, for example E. Coli 0157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria in foods.
  2. Develop and improve methods to study etiologic agents, Vibrio, shellfish viruses, and Salmonella of foodborne disease.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Each year food-borne pathogens result in over 9000 deaths. A farm to table approach is needed to reduce the number of pathogens in the food supply. The impact of interventions and HACCP in food processing facilities will be examined to determine if the number of pathogens is reduced in the food supply.

APPROACH: Interventions to reduce food-borne pathogens will be examined in food processing facilities. Additionally, we will verify the impact of HACCP on the microbial profiles of meat and poultry products in meat processing facilities.

PROGRESS: 2000/10 TO 2006/09
The fabrication of a model carcass chilling system (wind tunnel) has been completed. Air velocity, temperature and relative humidity are controllable within the system. The system is ready to evaluate the chilling rate and uniformity of chilling for different meat and poultry products under various chilling conditions. An integrated mathematical model of heat transfer and temperature-dependent bacterial growth was developed to validate the safety of cooked hams during air blast chilling. Heat transfer through a cooked ham was mathematically modeled and analyzed with a finite element method. Response of bacteria to temperatures was quantitatively described using predictive microbiology. The cumulative effect of temperature history on the bacterial growth was taken into account in the model.

IMPACT: 2000/10 TO 2006/09
The integrated model of heat transfer and bacterial growth provides valuable insights into air blast chilling of cooked meats for risk assessment of the final products. The development of integrated validated chilling and microbial growth predictive models can support the decision making process for the food industry, regulatory agencies (USDA-FSIS, etc), and researchers and educators at land grant universities to evaluate the microbiological risk of chilling processes. It can also be used to evaluate adequacies of refrigeration capabilities and to design refrigeration systems to control foodborne pathogens during chilling, thus building food safety into the process.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Project number
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Natural Toxins
Bacterial Pathogens
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Meat, Poultry, Game