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Quantification of Effects of Processing on Foodborne Pathogens for Minimally Processed Foods

Skinner, Guy
National Center for Food Safety & Technology
Start date
End date
The objective of this project is to obtain experimental laboratory data for quantification of the risks associated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 and its behavior during the processing involved in the processing of minimally processed fresh produce.
More information
The mode of contamination of minimally processed fruits and vegetables is being heavily studied. Contamination with pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 can occur by many means. In preparing fresh produce for sale, pathogenic bacteria can easily be spread via the numerous processing steps, particularly when there is no effective reduction step involved. In addition to the spread of pathogenic bacteria, damage to the fruit or vegetable resulting from these processing steps may allow penetration of the pathogen into the interior of the product or may result in the release of water, creating conditions where the microorganisms can grow and/or produce toxin. The number and nature of pathogenic bacteria present on finished product may reflect the bacteria present on the raw product as well as bacteria added during processing. Experimental data is necessary to determine how the various processing steps in the manufacture of fresh produce may affect the numbers of E. coli 0157:H7 that may be present. This information may lead to implementation of controls at various steps that may reduce the risks foodborne illness.
Project number
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Bacterial Pathogens
Escherichia coli