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Evaluation of a Consumer Type Time/Temperature Indicator for Estimation of Time to Toxin Formation by Clostridium botulinum as a Function of Storage Temperature.


The objective of this research project was to evaluate whether a consumer type Time/ Temperature Indicator can be manufactured to react to a specified set of time/temperature criteria and therefore be useful in predicting when a food product has been stored under potentially hazardous conditions.

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Because of the safety questions associated with Modified Atmosphere Packaged (MAP) fish and vegetables and extended shelf life refrigerated foods, additional safety measures are being sought to protect consumers from potential hazards associated with these food products.</P>
Utilization of consumer type Time/Temperature Indicators (TFls) represents a means of indicating storage conditions which may render a particular food hazardous, and alerting the consumer of this potential hazard. </P>
TTIs may be manufactured to a custom set of time/temperature conditions which have been found to either represent a potential health hazard or result in poor quality. For instance, research has shown that it is possible in some cases for spores of C. botulinum to germinate, grow and produce toxin in extended shelf-life refrigerated foods exposed to elevated temperatures.</P>
It may be desirable to attach a consumer type TTI which is designed to respond to a predetermined set of time/temperature criteria to such foods. TTIs designed to operate reliably and accurately appear to have great potential for minimizing possible public health risks associated with certain types of foods, particularly refrigerated foods. </P>
The conservative curve and its corresponding mathematical equation representing most rapidly achievable C. botulinum toxin formation as a function of incubation temperature was agreed upon and a consumer type TTI was manufactured to emulate equation behavior.</P>

Skinner, Guy
National Center for Food Safety & Technology
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