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Killing Before Milling: Utilization of Vacuum Steam Pasteurization for Controlling Enteric Pathogens on Wheat


The three primary objectives to achieve our long-term goal are:1. Determine the fate of enteric pathogens on wheat grains during storage and tempering2. Quantify pathogen inactivation, microbial shelf-life, functional and sensory impacts of vacuum steam pasteurized soft wheat3. Validation of microbial inactivation and milling quality of wheat processed with large scale vacuum steam pasteurization equipmenta) Project objectives and their relationship to program area priorities: Based on the above rationale, this research will address the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program priority area for Food Safety and Defense (A1332) involving the i) development and validation of innovative technologies for food processing and ii) development of effective interventions for reducing contaminants in foods.b) Potential for long range improvement and sustainability of U.S. food systems: In recent years there have been several multi-state outbreaks of pathogen contamination of wheat flour in the U.S. These outbreaks are resulting in major loss and waste of food products in the U.S. These recalls result in losses of millions of dollars for milling companies. In the last 10 years there have been four outbreaks directly related to wheat flour. Of particular note are the two recent outbreaks in the United States in 2016 and 2019. These outbreaks caused 84 illnesses, which resulted in 20 hospitalizations. Results from the proposed research will provide long range improvements and sustainability to the U.S. food system by reducing costs associated with product recalls and outbreak management.c) Novel ideas and contributions: The proposed study provides data on the use of vacuum steam pasteurization from lab scale to large scale processing, and will provide not only the microbial safety data, but essential product quality and end-user sensory data. This holistic set of data and analyses are necessary for adoption of an effective control measure by the food industry.

Simsek, Senay
North Dakota State University
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