<oL><LI>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. <LI>Develop and validate mathematical modeling to gain understanding of pathogen behavior in macro and micro-environments. <LI>Investigate factors leading to the emergence, persistence and elimination of antimicrobial resistance in food processing and animal production environments.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Food borne disease is a significant problem throughout the world. It impacts both the health of the domestic population, as well as our competitiveness in international markets. Although some progress has been made in mitigating food borne illnesses, the goals set forth in Healthy People 2010 have not been met. This project examines the effectiveness of current mitigation strategies to reduce bacteria of public health significance in the food supply. It will evaluate current mitigation strategies, while identifying and developing new strategies. It will also examine methods to identify and control antimicrobial resistant bacteria in foods.<P>APPROACH: Food production, processing, distribution and delivery to the consumer is an integrated process. Food borne pathogens may contaminate food at any point in this process, with the end result being a deterioration of the consumers health. This project will focus on the integrated food system primarily for meats, fruits and vegetables. It will examine mitigation steps at every phase of the process, and attempt to prioritize these interventions, so that they be applied in the most effective manner. Risk assessment, both qualitative and quantitative, is a valuable part of this evaluation process. Risk assessment takes the scientific data and models it in a fashion to account for random errors and probabilities. This mathematical modeling provides a valuable tool for both regulatory agencies and the food industry, to better understand the system as a whole. Antimicrobial resistance within food borne pathogens is a significant issue, both now and in the future. Antimicrobial resistance may arise from many sources, with the ultimate impact being on the health of the consumer. Antimicrobial resistance among food borne bacteria is poorly understood, and the relationships between antimicrobial use in food animals and in humans require further examination. Part of this project will focus on the presence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in foods, and mitigation strategies to reduce their impact on human health.