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​The Committee on Food Microbiology is committed to proactively improving the understanding and control of microbial food safety hazards to enable scientifically informed decision making.

The committee achieves its mission through supporting sound science, sponsoring break-through research and fostering collaboration with academia, government, and industry.

Why is this research valuable?

In advance of setting priorities for each new research cycle, the committee and its scientific advisors hold a research roundtable with representatives of the following federal and international agencies: the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the US Food and Drug Administration/Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (FDA/CFSAN); the US Food and Drug Administration/Office of Food and Veterinary Medicine and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the USDA, European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada. The objective of these roundtable discussions is to identify emerging food microbiology research needs considered critical to public health.

Research Grant Cycles

2016-2018
The Committee is pleased to announce it has awarded two research grants in response to its Request for Proposals for Research on Pathogens in Low Water Activity Foods
 
Survival and inactivation of bacterial and viral pathogens in model low-moisture foods
Jeffrey Farber, PhD, University of Guelph
 
Listeria monocytogenes thermal resistance in low moisture foods: role of water activity or food matrix
Meijun Zhu, PhD, Washington State University
2013-2015
Protocol and Surrogate Validation for the Inactivation of Salmonella on Spices
Monica Ponder, PhD, Virginia Tech
 
Correlation of Surrogate Bacteria and Salmonellae for Validation of Spice/Herb Pathogen Reduction Processes
Gary Acuff, PhD, Texas A & M University
2012-2014
On Farm Evaluation of the Prevalence of Human Enteric Bacterial Pathogens during the Production of Melons in California and Arizona
Trevor Suslow, PhD, University of California, Davis
 
Using high-frequency nano-amplitude mechanical vibration for preventing and reducing Salmonella attachment on dry surfaces
Sanghyup Jeong, PhD, Michigan State University
 
Best practices for cleaning and sanitizing nut butter processing equipment
Stephen Grove, PhD, Institute for Food Safety and Health at Illinois Institute of Technology
 
2010-2012

Salmonella in Low Moisture Foods

Outbreaks of Salmonella in peanut paste and peanut butter prompted the committee to issue an accelerated request for proposals related to technology and process to control Salmonella in low-moisture foods. To complement this request for proposals, the committee published a white paper titled “Critical Research Needs in Food Safety Microbiology” (Food Protection Trends, December 2009) to provide additional guidance on the issue.

The following three research projects were selected for funding:
  • “Influence of Water Mobility on Persistence of Salmonella in Low-Moisture Foods” by Dr. Joseph Frank, University of Georgia
  • “Improved Process Validation Strategies for Salmonella Inactivation on Low-Moisture Food Products Subjected to Thermal Pasteurization Processes” by Dr. Bradley Marks, Michigan State University
  • “Thermal Inactivation and Survival of Salmonella in Food as a Function of Water Activity and Fat Level” by Dr. Elena Enache, Grocery Manufacturers Association Foundation Science and Education Foundation.

In Spring 2012, ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology 2010 grant recipient, Dr. Bradley Marks, Michigan State University, was awarded two USDA NIFA grants in the amounts of $542,824 and $496,514.  Both grants were largely made possible by preliminary work completed under the ILSI North America funded project, “Improved Process Validation Strategies for Salmonella Inactivation on Low-Moisture Food Products Subjected to Thermal Pasteurization Processes”.  The USDA grants total $1,039,338 and will run for three years. 

In June, Dr. Joseph Frank, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., was awarded a new USDA NIFA Grant in the amount of $500,000 to extend his research on Salmonella begun under the Committee’s grant.  The USDA NIFA Grant will allow the University of Georgia research team to collaborate with co-investigators from the University of Tennessee and Rutgers University.  Together they will continue investigating the role of food components in Salmonella survival.
 

Rapid Detection of Viral Pathogens and Control of Salmonella in Low-Moisture Foods (2008–2011 Grant Cycle)

The committee sponsored the following two projects:

  • “Capture and Concentration of Selected Food-Borne Pathogens in Complex Sample Matrices Using DNA and RNA Aptamers” by Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus at NCSU
  • “Inactivation of Salmonella on Raw Nuts Using Low-Energy X-Ray” by Dr. Sanghyup Jeong, Michigan State University.
2008-2010

Selection and characterization of DNA aptamers with binding selectivity to Campylobacter jejuni using whole-cell SELEX
Hari P. Dwivedi, R. Derike Smiley and Lee-Ann Jaykus

The effect of X-rayirradiation on Salmonellainactivation and sensory quality of almonds and walnuts as a function of water activity
Sanghyup Jeong, Bradley P. Marks, Elliot T. Ryser, Janice B. Harte

North Carolina State University Investigator Receives USDA Grant
ILSI North America congratulates Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, North Carolina State University (NCSU), on receiving a $25 million award from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some of Dr. Jaykus's early work in this area was supported from grants provided by the ILSI North America Food Microbiology Committee. She will now be the principle investigator for multi-center study on noroviruses in an effort to design effective control measures across the food supply chain and reduce the number of foodborne illnesses caused by viruses.

In 2004, Dr. Jaykus received her first grant from the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology for her project "The Impact of Virus Survival, Persistence, and Transfer on the Transmission and Risk of Foodborne Disease." She subsequently received a second grant in 2008 for the project "Capture and Concentration of Selected Foodborne Pathogens in Complex Sample Matrices Using DNA and RNA Aptamers." The committee has always sought to be ahead of the curve in research funding, especially by providing seed money for basic scientific research projects of a progressive nature. The committee's initial support of Dr. Jaykus's projects is an excellent example of the success and validation of its grant process. The project’s timeliness and the long-term applicability of the research findings have aided in securing additional significant funding.

Citation: Liu P, Chien Y-W, Papafragkou E, Hsiao H-M, Jaykus L-A, Moe C. Persistence of human noroviruses on food preparation surfaces and human hands. Food Environ Virol. 2009;1(3–4):141–147.

Journal of Food Protection Citation Award
The Journal of Food Protection announced a Committee on Food Microbiology-funded project as the second highest cited article in the Journal from May 2006 to 2011. The article is titled "International Life Science Institute North America Listeria monocytogenes Strain Collection: Development of Standard Listeria monocytogenes Strain Sets for Research and Validation."

Citation: Fugett E, Fortes E, Nnoka C, Wiedmann M. International Life Sciences Institute North America Listeria monocytogenes strain collection: development of standard Listeria monocytogenes strain sets for research and validation studies. J Food Prot. 2006;69(12):2929–2938.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS 
Cargill, Incorporated
Conagra Brands Inc.
Deibel Labs
General Mills, Inc.
Kellogg Company
Kraft Heinz Company
Leprino Foods
Mars, Incorporated
Mondelēz International
Nestlé USA
PepsiCo, Inc.
Starbucks Coffee Company
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS
Bradley Marks, PhD
Michigan State University
Kendra Nightingale, PhD
Texas Tech University

GOVERNMENT ADVISORS

Peter Gerner-Smidt, MD, PhD.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 Mickey Parish, PhD.
 FDA Office of Food Safety
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Isabel Walls, PhD
US Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Stephanie Defibaugh-Chavez, PhD
USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service
Events
Ref. Strain Collection
Other Refs
Events

IAFP 2016 Annual Meeting
St. Louis, Missouri
31 July - 3 August 2016
The committee is sponsoring 3 sessions
Videos available

Ref. Strain Collection

Established in 2001 for Listeria monocytogenes isolates and housed at Cornell University, the ILSI North America Reference Strain Collection was expanded in 2006 to include the strain set and subtyping data that emerged from the committee’s Enterobacter (now Cronobacter) sakazakii. In 2008, the strain collection was expanded again to include the strains set of Salmonella resulting from the Salmonella low-moisture projects. Isolates from the collection are distributed for a minimal charge to researchers around the world. This unique resource provides investigators with a standard set of isolates that improves comparison of study data. The Committee on Food Microbiology continues to support the expansion of the strain collection to include Salmonella isolates.  Access the collection at Cornell University

Reference:
International Life Science Institute North America Cronobacter (Formerly Enterobacter sakazakii) Isolate Set

Other Refs

Access references to publications generated by funding from the Committee on Food Microbiology prior to 2008: Publications Prior to 2008.

Sodium Reduction: A Practical Path Forward

Kasey Heintz, FDA CFSAN
ILSI North America Workshop - Safety of Sodium Reduction in the Food Supply: A Cross Discipline Balancing Act

Publications

Development of a Dry Inoculation Method for Thermal Challenge Studies in Low-Moisture Foods by Using Talc as a Carrier for Salmonella and a Surrogate (Enterococcus faecium)

The objective of this study was to obtain dry inocula of Salmonella Tennessee and Enterococcus faecium, a surrogate for thermal inactivation of Salmonella in low-moisture foods, and to compare their thermal resistance and stability over time in terms of survival.

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Past Events

IAFP 2014

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

The ILSI North America Technical Committees on Food Microbiology and Food & Chemical Safety sponsored scientific sessions at the 2014 International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting.

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                    [post_title] => International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) 2016 Annual Meeting
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                    [post_date] => 2016-04-28 15:26:43
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                    [post_content] => 
                    [post_title] => The Safety of Sodium Reduction in the Food Supply: A Cross Discipline Balancing Act
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                    [post_date] => 2016-04-28 15:48:05
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                    [post_content] => 
                    [post_title] => International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) 2015 Annual Meeting
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                    [post_name] => international-association-for-food-protection-iafp-2015-annual-meeting
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                    [post_title] => IAFP 2014
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                    [post_title] => American Spice Trade Association Annual Meeting and Exhibits
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