We propose to develop a novel technology for packing and selling live mussels in the U.S. Mussels are packed in a drip-free, non-permeable, modified atmosphere package (MAP) in order to improve freshness, and increase processing yields and mussel sales. To obtain FDA approval of the package, we need to demonstrate that the strain of lactic acid bacteria we isolated in Phase I of the research is effective in prohibiting the development of botulism in this novel live mussel pack through the use of botulism challenge studies.
Mussel consumption in the U.S. has been limited by the sales of live mussels in wet packages with reduced shelf life. The FDA is reluctant to approve modified atmosphere packs for live mussels due to the risk of contamination by Clostridium botulinum in spoiled packages. This project tests the effectiveness of a strain of lactic acid bacteria added to a live, modified atmosphere mussel pack to prevent the risk of botulism as part of a HACCP plan to obtain FDA approval for the novel pack.
We will perform microbiological studies which involve testing a strain of lactic acid bacteria for growth and viability in a mussel MAP pack under typical storage and abuse temperatures, and the effects of this on the growth of C. botulinum. These studies will be performed under strict NACMCF protocols and will involve six strains of non-proteolyic C. botulinum including type E, B, and F. We will also develop process control procols for HACCP certification and FDA approval of the process. In addition, we will perform shelf life and consumer acceptance studies of this new MAP pack relative to our existing wet package method of selling fresh mussels in retail and food service markets.