Preserving microbiological safety of human foods through innovative development and validation of chemical and biological food safety interventions
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In the U.S. and around the globe, several differing types of chemical and biological food preservatives are approved for food keeping quality and microbiological safety protection. In the U.S., the federal agencies primarily responsible for assuring safe and effective use of food antimicrobials for human foods are the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Multiple antimicrobials are approved for use in production of human foods in the U.S., and many have been identified by the FDA as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) (21CFR§182, §184, §186). These include compounds approved by the USDA-FSIS for use in production of meat and poultry-derived foods (16), and even some compounds approved for the manufacture of foods labeled as organic (18). While several highly refined compounds are available for use, there is growing interest amongst U.S. consumers for foods manufactured with fewer synthetic ingredients (i.e., clean label) (4, 8). Such trends fuel food industry members to reformulate products with preservatives deemed natural/desirable by consumers, without loss of product quality and safety. The need for continuing research in the application and evaluation of natural food antimicrobials for food safety protection is significant.The project will utilize primarily microbiological assays of human and animal foods/feed, utilizing food products inoculated with foodborne pathogens or pathogen surrogates or other organisms. Studies will be designed to determine the ability of food safety interventions to reduce the numbers of these inoculated organisms as a tool to assist food industry members in achieving food safety objectives and food performance objectives towards the design of a strong food safety protection process. In addition to microbiological experiments conducted in the investigator's laboratory, other experiments using other analytical procedures will be completed by collaborating scientists to provide other forms of data that support the findings of primary microbiological experiments..........