The Use of Natural Antimicrobials to Mitigate Biological Threat Agents in High Risk Foods

  • Bachas, Leonidas (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The incidence of foodborne illness in the United States is in excess of 76 million cases per year. In general, these illnesses have been a result of unintentional contamination and mishandling. The intentional addition of heat resistant pathogenic bacteria into high-risk food products and foods that are consumed without receiving an additional heat treatment (Ready to Eat) is a relatively new concern. The aim of this proposal is to identify economical and effective control measures that are available to food processors to mitigate these risks. Initial studies will identify antimicrobial compounds that have Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for use in food products that will alter the growth and germination of heat resistant sporeforming bacteria including avirulent Bacillus anthracis, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium sporogenes and Bacillus subtilis. Compound effectiveness in both the absence and presence of currently utilized heating treatments (pasteurization, frying, steam heating, etc.) will be determined. Non-spore forming foodborne pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., and Escherichia coli O157:H7 will also be included in the analysis. The mode of action of these compounds individually and in combination, will be determined to identify the most effective application of the compound to food products. The applications proposed include: 1) the direct addition of antimicrobials into high-risk foods (e.g., fluid milk, processed cheese and ground beef); 2) incorporation into edible films/coatings for use on RTE meat, fish and cheese products (bologna, country ham, processed cheese, smoked striped bass, and precooked crayfish); 3) GRAS impregnated food packaging to control growth and sporulation of target sporeforming organisms on RTE meat and cheese products (bologna, country ham, processed cheese); and 4) the application of volatile compounds to control growth and sporulation of target organisms in the atmosphere of packaged raw produce and RTE meats. Organoleptic (visual and taste) evaluations will be performed once GRAS compounds have been proven to be affective against the target pathogens.
Effective start/end date11/23/096/22/12


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