Develop or improve methods for control or elimination of pathogens in -pre-and post harvest environments including meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables and nutmeats.
Non-Technical Summary: Despite the development of multiple methods of control for foodborne microbial pathogens on the surfaces of differing fresh and processed foods, challenges to the microbiological and chemical safety of foods continue to be identified. Additionally, previously identified microbial pathogens thought to not contribute to foodborne disease in some food products have recently been identified as being capable of inducing human disease following transmission through foods not previously considered high-risk. This project seeks to provide tangible benefits to food consumers through collaboration amongst food safety microbiologists and epidemiologists, improving microbiological safety of animal-derived and plant foods for the consumer. Multiple types of microbiological analysis and experimental research will be conducted to identify routes of foodborne pathogen transmission on foods to consumers, as well as to identify methods of pathogen control effective for inhibiting pathogens on foods. The impacts anticipated from such studies include enhanced food safety by reduction of pathogen transmission and numbers on foods, strengthening the safety and security of the U.S. food supply. <P> Approach: Basic and applied research will be conducted to assess the impact on food safety of physical, chemical, and processing-related interventions and practices using chemical and microbiological analysis methods. Analysis of microbial survival and proliferation, antimicrobial efficacy of chemical interventions, and reductions of contaminating microbes following intervention or process application will be assessed.