Are There Risks Posed by Pathogens in Low-Moisture Foods?


The risks posed by pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and viruses can survive for extended periods of time in low-moisture foods, increasing the potential for foodborne illness.

Low-moisture foods (LMF) such as nuts, dried fruits, cereal products and chocolate are often used as ingredients in the manufacture of snacks and other food products. Because of this, they carry significant potential for foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls of some food products. Pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and viruses are known to be able to survive on low-moisture foods for long periods of time — years even — but there is a general lack of knowledge related to the behavior of L. monocytogenes and other pathogens in these foods.

To address this need, our Food Microbiology Committee supported a multi-center effort across academic and government institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, the Committee funded projects on pathogen survival in low-moisture foods and in the dry food manufacturing environment at Washington State University.

This research supported by IAFNS:

  • Identified novel genes important for the survival of Salmonella in low-moisture foods
  • Demonstrated two ways to decontaminate Salmonella and monocytogenes in such foods
  • Characterized common and novel tests for rapid extraction of viruses from low-moisture foods

Learn more about the Food Microbiology Committee’s work on pathogen survival in such foods:

View our Low-Moisture Foods Science Spotlight flyer

To learn more about our work, visit Food Microbiology Committee page.