Simulating Powdered Product Sampling to Improve Food Safety Sampling Plans

Drawing accurate conclusions about whether an ingredient or finished product is safe based on the results of a test is important to the evaluation and management of food safety risk. With the expected prevalence of contamination in today’s food system at less than 1%, extremely large samples sizes are required to reliably detect contamination, and the potential for false negatives during routine sampling is high. It is therefore critical that samples are representative of the ingredient or product being evaluated, and that sampling plans maximize the probability of finding a target hazard — particularly as contamination patterns are often heterogeneous rather than uniform.  This project will leverage a recently-developed bulk product simulation model to create a publicly available model used to detect low-prevalence, low-level contamination in powdered products and ingredients, such as powdered milk and cocoa powder.

Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Principal Investigator: Matthew Stasiewicz, PhD
Amount Awarded: $84,466
Year Awarded: 2021

View this project on the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework.

Learn more about the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Survival of Listeria monocytogenes During Storage on Dried Apples, Strawberries and Raisins at 4°C and 23°C

Search for Campylobacter Reveals High Prevalence and Pronounced Genetic Diversity of Arcobacter butzleri in Floodwater Samples Associated with Hurricane Florence, North Carolina, USA

Identification of Novel Genes Mediating Survival of Salmonella on Low-Moisture Foods via Transposon Sequencing Analysis

Sampling of Post-Hurricane Florence Floodwater for Human Foodborne Pathogens

Heavy rainfall and flooding following a hurricane can massively impact water quality, especially via runoff from agricultural and industrial operations. The IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee is supporting researchers at North Carolina State University to examine the emergence, potential routes of contamination and proliferation, as well as virulence and susceptibility of three major foodborne pathogens in the freshwater supply following Hurricane Florence: Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter.

These findings will be integrated with geospatial analysis and land use information. The choice of these pathogens was dictated by the significant threats that they pose to food safety and public health and their known capacity to survive and persist in fresh water. The data will provide assessments of pathogen prevalence during and post-flooding, as well as estimates of the time periods required for return to baseline levels. The learnings from this study will also support mitigation and control of pathogens in future food systems.

Institution: North Carolina State University
Principal Investigator: Sophia Kathariou, PhD
Amount Awarded: $5,425
Year Awarded: 2018

Read more: Search for Campylobacter Reveals High Prevalence and Pronounced Genetic Diversity of Arcobacter butzleri in Floodwater Samples Associated with Hurricane Florence, North Carolina, USA

Read more: Microbial Contamination in Environmental Waters of Rural and Agriculturally-Dominated Landscapes Following Hurricane Florence

Read the North Carolina State University News Release.

Learn more about the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Simulating Large-Number Bulk-Product Sampling to Improve Food Safety Sampling Plans

Drawing an accurate conclusion about whether a food ingredient or product is safe based on the result of a test is important to the evaluation and management of food safety risk. It is critical that sampling plans maximize the probability of finding a target hazard in an ingredient or a finished product, particularly with non-uniform and low level contamination. Sample collection in bulk ingredients is typically done manually in the food industry, but manual sampling is time-consuming and laborious, and often results in sampling inconsistency. Therefore, a different is needed for rapid and efficient collection of representative samples of these products. The goal of this project is to build a validated and ready-to-use simulation model of bulk product sampling to improving sampling plans.

Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Principal Investigator: Matthew Stasiewicz, PhD
Amount Awarded: $109,949
Year Awarded: 2018

Read more: Evaluation of the Impact of Skewness, Clustering, and Probe Sampling Plan on Aflatoxin Detection in Corn

View this project on the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework.

Learn more about the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Survival and Inactivation of Bacterial and Viral Pathogens in Model Low-Moisture Foods

Low-moisture food (LMF) products are often ingredients (e.g. nuts, dried fruits, cereal products, and chocolate) used in the manufacture of many food products. Because of this, they carry significant potential for the amplification of outbreaks and recalls over a wide variety of products. There has been worldwide recognition of the need to more seriously manage the microbiological hazards associated with these products. The aim of this project is to understand the survival of pathogens (Salmonella spp., L. monocytogenes, and viruses) in the dry food manufacturing environment and in low water activity products.

Institution: University of Guelph
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Farber, PhD
Co-Investigators: Sabah Bidawid, PhD, Nathalie Corneau, Neda Nasheri, PhD (Health Canada); Sophia Kathariou, PhD (North Carolina State University); Keith Warriner, PhD (University of Guelph)
Amount Awarded: $227,872
Year Awarded: 2016

Read more: Identification of Novel Genes Mediating Survival of Salmonella on Low-Moisture Foods Via Transposon Sequencing Analysis

Read more: Survival and Virulence of Listeria monocytogenes During Storage on Chocolate Liquor, Corn Flakes, and Dry-Roasted, Shelled Pistachios at 4ºC and 23ºC

Read more: Inactivation of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes on Dried Fruit, Pistachio Nuts, Cornflakes and Chocolate Crumb Using a Peracetic Acid-Ethanol Based Sanitizer or Advanced Oxidation Process

Read more: Evaluation of Bead-Based Assays for the Isolation of Foodborne Viruses from Low-Moisture Foods

Read more: Survival of Listeria monocytogenes During Storage on Dried Apples, Strawberries and Raisins at 4°C and 23°C.

Read more: Survival and Inactivation by Advanced Oxidative Process of Foodborne Viruses in Model Low-Moisture Foods

Learn more about the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Listeria monocytogenes Thermal Resistance in Low-Moisture Foods: Role of Water Activity or Food Matrix

Low moisture foods (e.g., cocoa powder, dried milk powder, flour) have been increasingly involved in foodborne outbreaks. Foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes can survive in low moisture foods and dry food processing environments for months, and even for years. However, there is a general lack of knowledge related to the behavior of L. monocytogenes in these foods. The aim of this study is to comprehensively evaluate L. monocytogenes survival in low moisture foods in heat processing, and examine factors impacting their resistance.

Institution: Washington State University
Principal Investigator: Meijun Zhu, PhD
Amount Awarded: $178,202
Year Awarded: 2016

Read more: Thermal Resistance of Listeria monocytogenes in Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder Under Different Water Activity

Read more: Stability of Listeria monocytogenes in Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder During Isothermal Treatment and Storage

Read more: Listeria monocytogenes in Almond Meal: Desiccation Stability and Isothermal Inactivation

Learn more about the IAFNS Microbiology Committee.

Correlation of Surrogate Bacteria and Salmonellae for Validation of Spice/Herb Pathogen Reduction Processes

Spices and herbs are obtained from plants that are grown in open fields and later subjected to a drying process that often involves sun drying in open environments. Therefore, bacterial pathogens are likely to be present in these products. Despite implementation of preventive measures, outbreaks of foodborne disease and recalls have been linked to spices. The aim of this study is to define validation protocols for the pathogen reduction processes used to treat spices and validate treatment efficacy to achieve the targeted pathogen reduction.

Institution: Texas A&M University
Principal Investigator: Gary Acuff, PhD
Amount Awarded: $142,552
Year Awarded: 2013

Read more: Processes to Preserve Spice and Herb Quality and Sensory Integrity During Pathogen Inactivation

Learn more about the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.