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Control of Foodborne Pathogens in in Ready-to-Eat Hispanic Foods


<p>The long-term goal of this project is to understand the presence and control of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in specific ready-to-eat food products from Hispanic origin. We plan to conduct a series of experiments with pathogenic strains of both of these organisms and to test their survival against different physical, chemical and biological treatments. The specific goals of this proposal are to:Assess the incidence and growth potential of pathogenic bacteria in salsa and guacamole collected from typical Mexican- style restaurants. Determine the effectiveness of microwave technology to kill Salmonella in dried hot peppers. Optimize the use antimicrobial GRAS ingredients that will inhibit and reduce the viable count of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh Hispanic cheeses. </p>

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<p>In recent years, a variety of ready-to-eat Hispanic foods have been the causes of foodborne poisoning due to infections with different pathogenic bacteria. This Hispanic foods include salsa, guacamole, fresh cheeses (queso fresco) and dry peppers. The proposed work seeks to alleviate those problems by investigating the factors that influence the growth and survival of Salmonella and Listeria on typical products. Specific conditions that will be investigated for fresh salsa and guacamole will be the influence of the type and amount of ingredients in their recipe. For dry peppers, the use of simple houshold microwave will be investigated as a potential intervention strategie to kill Salmonella. The inhibition of Listeria cells in queso fresco will be determined by experiments including antimicrobial food ingredients into their formulation. At the end of the planned series of experiments, the results will be presented at national meetings and manuscripts will be prepared for publication in the scientific literature. Databases will be available for risk assessors and regulatory agencies.</p>

Diez-Gonzalez, Francisco
University of Minnesota
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