Development of rapid detection and quantification methods for pathogens and their toxins, with special emphasis on certain imported and domestic perishable foods, that sporadically contain low levels of pathogen contamination.
The tasks listed in this project will provide new or refined methods for the detection and quantification of pathogens or their toxic metabolites.</p>
An essential component of a comprehensive strategy to enhance food safety is the development of an arsenal of rapid and sensitive methods for detecting pathogens or their toxic metabolites. Many perishable products, whether imported or domestic, do not undergo additional processing to inactivate harmful contaminants prior to consumption. </p>
Contamination may only occur sporadically and at low levels; but, in some products such as sprouts, low levels of pathogens in seeds also may be amplified during germination. High levels of background microflora often hamper detection of pathogens in produce. Food matrix interference is often encountered with all food testing methods; hence, gene based assays seem especially susceptible,i.e., RT-PCR for detection of Hepatitis A virus in produce. The tasks listed in this project will provide new or refined methods for the detection and quantification of pathogens or their toxic metabolites.</p>
Real-time detection methods developed in this project may be useful for verification of critical control points, thus enhancing HACCP programs.</p>
1. Data on the presence of pathogens can enhance the development of agency policy on reducing the risk of illness from sprout/produce.<br>
2. Methods developed will enhance the capability of the field labs in detecting pathogens in foods. <br>
3. Methods developed will enhance microbiological safety of infant formulas. <br>
4. Promote international harmonization of microbiological methods used in food testing.