Research round-up: Food Micro 2016 special

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Food safety research round-up - Tell us what you are working on!
Food safety research round-up - Tell us what you are working on!

Related tags Campylobacter Milk Microbiology

FoodQualityNews went to Ireland for Food Micro 2016 to take a look at the posters that presented a sample of the latest research in the field.

Exhibitors included bioMérieux, Bruker, Corbion, FAPAS, Bio-Rad, Qiagen, Trafalgar Scientific, Eurofins Genomics, ALT and Applied Maths. Speaker presentations can be found here​.

The conference looked at food microbiology, safety, hygiene, spoilage, foodborne virology, biotechnology, novel processing technologies and was run with support from the International Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene (ICFMH).

Weinstock et al​ looked at the influence of vaporised hydrogen peroxide on murine norovirus (MNV) on the surface of strawberries and apples.

Food Micro @ UCD, Ireland

Due to the lack of a cell culture for human norovirus, research studies used surrogates of MNV.

While treatment of artificially inoculated strawberries with hydrogen peroxide ​vapour did not result in a significant reduction in infectious MNV particles, it did reduce infectious MNV particles on apple surfaces of >3 log10​.

Real-time PCR data determined no reduction of MNV particles on apple surfaces.

Wilma Hazeleger et al​ looked at the growth kinetics of Campylobacter jejuni and ESBLs in enrichment procedures.

The presence of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae in food has become a factor that interferes with isolation of Campylobacter resulting in false-negative detection tests.

Yield and growth rates of Campylobacter in co-culture with ESBLs were lower in pure cultures, indicating severe suppression of Campylobacter by ESBLs.

However, Preston Broth and Bolton Broth successfully inhibited growth of ESBLs and are a better choice as enrichment media for potentially ESBL-contaminated samples.

Lourdes Garcia-Sanchez et al ​evaluated the prevalence of Campylobacter species in retail poultry products in Spanish markets and its molecular variability using pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

Minced and marinated products had lower Campylobacter prevalence in comparison with thighs showing the possible effect of spices and preservatives against the pathogen.

Prevalence of Campylobacter in big markets was 33.54% compared to 25.94% in small markets. C. jejuni was the most prevalent in both markets and all products.

Consumers normally face one PFGE type but multiple types within the same product are possible making treatment difficult.

Livia Schwendimann et al​ described how Agroscope launched a project to build a facility that allows challenge tests with most foodborne pathogens under industry like conditions – i.e. to build a pilot plant with a biosafety level 3 (BSL3 pilot plant).

The arrangement of equipment in a BSL3 pilot plant must to flexible to enable testing of different production processes in various food systems – contrary to the design of a BSL3 laboratory.

Technologies could include room decontamination with vaporized hydrogen peroxide, special aeration systems for production steps in open systems and low pressure systems.

They said the availability of a BSL3 pilot plant is ‘crucial’ for the economic development of the food industry in a more demanding environment. However, construction of such a facility needs state of the art technology causing technical and financial challenges.

Anette Granly Koch et al​ from the Danish Meat Research Institute looked at prolonging production time before closing down for cleaning and disinfection for the meat industry without jeopardizing food safety, shelf life and aesthetics.

Food Micro @ UCD, Ireland

Steam vacuum treatment and wiping with ethanol reduced the bacterial number but the scaled-up steam vacuum system was less efficient than the hand held device.

Explanations could be insufficient vacuum or steam in the new device, worn out conveyor belt or meat burning on to the surfaces during treatment.

Ghikas et al​ assessed the spoilage potential and the ability to produce toxins of Bacillus cereus sensu lato strains isolated from different types of milk products in Greece.

They found 70% of the B. cereus s.l. strains isolated from Greek pasteurized milk characterized as psychrotrophic (ability to grow at 7 degrees), indicating high spoilage potential of the isolates.

A total of 80% of the psychrotrophic strains expressed enterotoxins NHE and HBL and could therefore be a hazard to consumer health.

The work confirmed the very low prevalence along the milk production chain of B. cereus s.l. strains having the ability to produce emetic toxin.

Taran Skjerdal et al ​presented the output from the STARTEC EU project to create a decision making tool to enable the SME operator to quantify and manage spoilage and pathogen risks.

The IT based system allowed food providers to insert data and estimate the quality and safety level in their products if alternative ingredients, process and storage conditions are applied.

Pathogens studied included Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus, Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) and Clostridium spp, as well as Staphylococcus toxins.

The effect of high pressure treatment, dielectric heating, bio-preservation and packing technologies were also investigated.

  • Let us know what research you are doing on food safety for your chance to be included in our monthly round-up. Send details to wbr.juvgjbegu@jeoz.pbz

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