Salmonella contamination of low-moisture foods is a vexing food safety challenge reflected in recent nationwide outbreaks/recalls involving dry products. Additionally, Salmonella is known to be extremely resistant to traditional treatments.
There is also an acute lack of data and tools for reliable validation of commercial pasteurization processes across low-moisture food categories.
This multi-disciplinary project will fill focus on these problems in order to to reduce risk of salmonellosis associated with low-moisture foods.
To accomplish this, the following specific project objectives have been established.
- Develop mathematical models quantifying the effect of water activity on Salmonella inactivation rate, for multiple pasteurization methods and product categories.
- Validate the inactivation models via inoculated, pilot-scale challenge studies.
- Develop, deliver, and assess training programs targeted at professionals responsible for validating pasteurization processes for low-moisture foods.
- Quantify the relationship between Salmonella inactivation rate and (a) product factors (composition and structure), and (b) time between contamination and pasteurization.
- Expand and validate novel inactivation models accounting for the significant intrinsic and extrinsic factors, via Salmonella-inoculated, pilot-scale challenge studies using multiple pasteurization technologies.
- Develop pasteurization scale-up and validation strategies that account for inherent uncertainty in the inactivation models.
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