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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.

Sampling & Sample Preparation for Microbiological Food Testing -  Request for Proposals

The ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology is requesting pre-proposals for research funding in the two specific research areas:

  1. Sample Collection Approaches for Bulk Products or Finished Products: The Committee is interested in supporting the innovative design and development of a robust technology and sampling process for bulk ingredients and bulk finished products.
  2. Sample Preparation for Testing Pathogens in Food Matrices: The Committee is interested in supporting the development of truly innovative, rapid sample preparation methods and approaches that can be coupled with highly sensitive detection methods to achieve rapid, sensitive, and reliable detection of foodborne pathogens. 

The Deadline to submit pre-proposals is Friday, 11 August 2017. Please contact Delia Murphy (dmurphy@ilsi.org) with any questions. 

Research Grant Cycles

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

IAFP 2017 Annual Meeting
Tampa, Florida
9-12 July 2017
more info

Ref. Strain Collection
Other Refs

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.

Read more

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				IAFP
	

ILSI North America is sponsoring 4 scientific sessions and 2 posters at the 2017 International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. Explore all the presentations below. 

Scientific Sessions

Controlling foodborne pathogens Managing Risk Debate: Food Safety Perspectives Chemical & Microbial Risk Assessment Controlling foodborne pathogens

Battling Bad Bugs: Biological Approaches to Control Pathogens
Monday, July 10, 2017 from 3:30- 5:00 PM

Session Conveners: Isabel Walls, USDA NIFA, and Kendra Nightingale, Texas Tech University

Abstract:
The food industry often relies on physical and chemical interventions to control foodborne pathogens. This session is intended to discuss biological approaches to control foodborne pathogens throughout the food continuum. Topics to be covered include the use of (i) biocontrol of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica Serovar Poona on fresh-cut apples with naturally occurring bacterial and yeast antagonists, (ii) probiotics to reduce the load of foodborne pathogens that enter the human food chain and pathogen populations on food and in food processing environments and (iii) bacteriophage to combat bacterial foodborne pathogens. This session will also include discussions on consumer perception and acceptance of these biological approaches to control foodborne pathogens.

Biocontrol of the Food-Borne Pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica Serovar Poona on Fresh-Cut Apples with Naturally Occurring Bacterial and Yeast Antagonists
Wojciech Janisiewicz, USDA ARS

Application of Probiotics to Control Foodborne Pathogens from Farm to Fork
Mindy Brashears, Texas Tech University

Application of Bacteriophage to Control Foodborne Pathogens in the Food Processing Environment and in Ready-to Eat Foods
Sam Alcaine, Cornell University

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology

Managing Risk

Managing Risk in a Zero Tolerance World
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 from 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Session Conveners: Laurie Post, Deibel Labs, Edith Wilkin, Leprino Foods Company

Abstract: It is accepted that there is risk in everything and the discipline of risk assessment focuses on minimizing risk to an acceptable level. This seems to be in conflict with the concept of zero tolerance, which is not completely codified in regulation and yet does seem to exist in actual food industry practice. Does the current interpretation of FSMA rules and regulatory application of new technologies in outbreak investigation drive the expectation of a zero-risk environment? What should risk assessment and food safety management look like in this changing landscape? How can risk be managed to allow suitable options for consumers and food manufacturers? The perception and understanding of risk necessitates a conversation between regulators, consumers, and the food industry.

The Changing Landscape: Implications of New Regulations on Risk Assessment
Donald Zink, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group

The International Dynamic of Risk Assessment
Robert Buchanan, University of Maryland

How is Whole Genome Sequencing Impacting Assessments of Risk and Setting of Standards?
Luca Cocolin, University of Turin

Setting Risk Based Performance Standards
Roy Betts, Campden BRI

Risk Management- Strategies and Challenges in a Zero Risk Environment
Tim Jackson, previously Nestlé North America

Consumer Perceptions of Risk and How It Influences Their Choices
William Hallman, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology

Debate: Food Safety Perspectives

A Debate: Current Perspectives in Food Safety
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM

Abstract: This interactive roundtable is intended to engender lively discussion of important food safety topics. It is assumed audience participants will have a basic understanding of the unresolved issues surrounding the topics to be discussed in the symposium. The session will cover three topics: “The good, the bad, and the ugly foods: Should we encourage the consumption of “ugly” and expired foods?”; “Who’s to blame? Do consumers own a piece of food safety?”; and, “Which is the real ‘obesogen'—pizza or the pizza box?” Each topic will include a 7-minute presentation in support of (Yes, Pizza) followed by a 7-minute presentation in opposition of (No, Pizza Box) the proposed topic question. Each speaker will have 3 minutes for extemporaneous rebuttals. A 6-minute question/answer session will then follow to allow for audience participation. We will have electronic polling of the audience to allow for a Yes/No vote on each topic question prior to and following the discussion to evaluate whether people’s views have been changed by the presentations.

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology

Convener: Kendra Nightingale, Texas Tech University

The good, the bad, and the ugly foods: Should we encourage the consumption of “ugly” and expired foods?
Yes: Sarah Cahill, FAO
No: Rob Tauxe, CDC

Who’s to blame? Do consumers own a piece of food safety?
Yes: Sarah Brew, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
No: Bill Marler, Marler Clark, LLP

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food and Chemical Safety

Convener: Charles Barton, Valspar Corporation

Which is the real “obesogen”—pizza or the pizza box?
Pizza: Ruth Kava, American Council on Science and Health
Pizza Box: Stephen Safe, Texas A&M University

Chemical & Microbial Risk Assessment

Chemical and Microbial Risk Assessment: Similarities and Differences
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Convener: Doug Holt, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group

Abstract: In food safety, risk assessment is the scientific evaluation of known or potential health effects resulting from human exposure to chemicals or microorganisms. Exposure to pathogenic microorganisms is different from exposure to chemicals. Microorganisms differ from chemicals as they can grow or die and the level of exposure to microorganisms can change dramatically in a short period. The speakers in this session will discuss the similarities and differences between chemical and microbial risk assessment; risk and risk benefit analysis and will present some case studies.

Chemical Risk Assessments and their Uses in Decision Making
Joseph Rodricks, Ramboll Environ

Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment: Dealing with Biological Diversity
Robert Buchanan, University of Maryland

Safety and Risk Assessments: Fit for Purpose
Jane Van Doren, FDA

Poster Presentations

Listeria monocytogenes Salmonella Listeria monocytogenes

Fate of Listeria monocytogenes in Cocoa Powder during Isothermal Inactivation
P3-16
Presentation on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Authors: Hsieh-Chin Tsai, Washington State University, Marizela Silva, Washington State University, Juming Tang, Washington State University, Meijun Zhu, Washington State University

Introduction: Listeria monocytogenes can survive in dry condition for a long period of time. Despite an increasing number of studies addressing Salmonella inactivation in low-moisture foods, there is a general lack of knowledge related to L. monocytogenes inactivation in low moisture foods during thermal processing and to the factors impacting their survival in low moisture food. Cocoa powder is an essential ingredient and widely incorporated in different desserts and drinks and thus a possible source of L. monocytogenes contamination.

Purpose: To evaluate the thermal resistance of L. monocytogenes in cocoa powder and further investigate the impact of water activity (aw) on its survival in cocoa powder.

Methods: Natural unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s) was inoculated with three-strain L. monocytogenes cocktail (~9.0 log CFU/g), equilibrated to water activity (aw, 25°C) to 0.3 or 0.45, then subjected to isothermal treatments using aluminum TDT test cell containing 0.4 g of inoculated and equilibrated sample. The survivors were enumerated on TSAYE plates.

Results: Inactivation data resulted from different temperatures at both aw showed log-linear trend which was used to obtained thermal inactivation parameters. Thermal resistance of L. monocytogenes at 0.3 aw was significantly higher than that at 0.45 aw across all three temperatures. Listeria monocytogenes at 0.3 aw and 0.45 aw had D70°C of 7.44±1.17 and 4.77±0.28 min, D75°C of 3.62±0.03 and 2.84±0.09 min, and D80°C of 1.35±0.04 and 1.06±0.05 min, respectively, z-value at 0.3 aw and 0.45 aw was 13.48 and 15.31°C, respectively.

Significance: Listeria monocytogenes demonstrated much higher thermal resistance in cocoa powder compared to the high moisture foods, which is impacted by aw. Data provide valuable information for industry to validate thermal processing for control of L. monocytogenes in low moisture foods.

Salmonella

Assessment of Survival and Virulence of Salmonella in Low-moisture Foods
P3-17
Poster Presentation on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Authors: Victor Jayeola , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC, Jeffrey Farber , University of Guelph, CRIFS, Department of Food Science , Guelph , Canada, Sophia Kathariou , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC

Introduction: Low-moisture foods (LMF) have been implicated in multiple outbreaks of salmonellosis. However, mechanisms mediating survival and virulence of Salmonella in such foods remain poorly understood

Purpose: To assess survival and virulence of Salmonella in low moisture foods.

Methods : A two-strain mixture of Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhimurium and Enteritidis was used to inoculate two model LMF, chocolate and in shell pistachios. Products (100 g) were inoculated with four ml of the Salmonella cell suspension, dried for one to three hours until aw approximated that of the uninoculated product, aliquoted into 15-ml centrifuge tubes and stored in the dark at 22°C. Salmonella populations immediately after inoculation, after drying and at 1, 4, 6, 10, 15, and 21 days were determined in triplicate on nonselective (TSA-YE) and selective (XLD) media. Virulence was tested in the insect Galleria mellonella model by injecting 10 µl of rinsate from products at one day into the last left proleg of 10 larvae. Rinsate from uninoculated products were also injected as controls. The larvae were incubated at 37°C and larval mortality was daily monitored.

Results: The population of Salmonella in the inoculated products was eight and nine log CFU/g immediately after inoculation and 7.3 and 8.0 log CFU/g after drying for chocolate and pistachios, respectively. Populations decreased to 4.5 and 7.5 log CFU/g by 21 days in chocolate and pistachios, respectively. Recovery of Salmonella from either product on TSAYE and XLD was similar. Larvae inoculated with 3.4 log CFU/ml of the cocktail had a mortality of 100% after 24 h compared to 80% of larvae inoculated with 3.9 log CFU/ml cells from chocolate and 30% for larvae inoculated with 3.7 log CFU/ml cells from pistachios. The mortality of controls was 0 and 10% for uninoculated pistachios and chocolate, respectively.

Significance: Findings show that Salmonella can survive in chocolate liquor and pistachios and that cells adapted to the LMF environment retained virulence.

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Speakers:
Nancy Bontempo, PhD, Mondelez International
Delia Murphy, ILSI North America

Background:
This presentation will provide an overview of the results of two ILSI North America sponsored research projects: “Correlation of surrogate bacteria and Salmonellae for validation of spice/herb pathogen reduction processes” and “Protocol and surrogate validation for the inactivation of Salmonella on whole black peppercorns and cumin seeds.”

The projects used four spices, oregano, onion powder, whole black peppercorns, and whole cumin seeds, and focused on evaluating the usefulness of surrogate bacteria for validation of irradiation as a decontamination processes, and developing validated protocols for inactivation of Salmonella using ethylene oxide fumigation and dry steam (vacuum-assisted) treatment. The American Spice Trade Association provided an unrestricted grant to help fund these research projects.

This work is supported by the ILSI North America Food Microbiology Committee.

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ILSI North America is sponsoring 4 scientific sessions and 2 posters at the 2017 International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. Explore all the presentations below. 

Scientific Sessions

Controlling foodborne pathogens Managing Risk Debate: Food Safety Perspectives Chemical & Microbial Risk Assessment Controlling foodborne pathogens

Battling Bad Bugs: Biological Approaches to Control Pathogens
Monday, July 10, 2017 from 3:30- 5:00 PM

Session Conveners: Isabel Walls, USDA NIFA, and Kendra Nightingale, Texas Tech University

Abstract:
The food industry often relies on physical and chemical interventions to control foodborne pathogens. This session is intended to discuss biological approaches to control foodborne pathogens throughout the food continuum. Topics to be covered include the use of (i) biocontrol of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica Serovar Poona on fresh-cut apples with naturally occurring bacterial and yeast antagonists, (ii) probiotics to reduce the load of foodborne pathogens that enter the human food chain and pathogen populations on food and in food processing environments and (iii) bacteriophage to combat bacterial foodborne pathogens. This session will also include discussions on consumer perception and acceptance of these biological approaches to control foodborne pathogens.

Biocontrol of the Food-Borne Pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica Serovar Poona on Fresh-Cut Apples with Naturally Occurring Bacterial and Yeast Antagonists
Wojciech Janisiewicz, USDA ARS

Application of Probiotics to Control Foodborne Pathogens from Farm to Fork
Mindy Brashears, Texas Tech University

Application of Bacteriophage to Control Foodborne Pathogens in the Food Processing Environment and in Ready-to Eat Foods
Sam Alcaine, Cornell University

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology

Managing Risk

Managing Risk in a Zero Tolerance World
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 from 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Session Conveners: Laurie Post, Deibel Labs, Edith Wilkin, Leprino Foods Company

Abstract: It is accepted that there is risk in everything and the discipline of risk assessment focuses on minimizing risk to an acceptable level. This seems to be in conflict with the concept of zero tolerance, which is not completely codified in regulation and yet does seem to exist in actual food industry practice. Does the current interpretation of FSMA rules and regulatory application of new technologies in outbreak investigation drive the expectation of a zero-risk environment? What should risk assessment and food safety management look like in this changing landscape? How can risk be managed to allow suitable options for consumers and food manufacturers? The perception and understanding of risk necessitates a conversation between regulators, consumers, and the food industry.

The Changing Landscape: Implications of New Regulations on Risk Assessment
Donald Zink, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group

The International Dynamic of Risk Assessment
Robert Buchanan, University of Maryland

How is Whole Genome Sequencing Impacting Assessments of Risk and Setting of Standards?
Luca Cocolin, University of Turin

Setting Risk Based Performance Standards
Roy Betts, Campden BRI

Risk Management- Strategies and Challenges in a Zero Risk Environment
Tim Jackson, previously Nestlé North America

Consumer Perceptions of Risk and How It Influences Their Choices
William Hallman, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology

Debate: Food Safety Perspectives

A Debate: Current Perspectives in Food Safety
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM

Abstract: This interactive roundtable is intended to engender lively discussion of important food safety topics. It is assumed audience participants will have a basic understanding of the unresolved issues surrounding the topics to be discussed in the symposium. The session will cover three topics: “The good, the bad, and the ugly foods: Should we encourage the consumption of “ugly” and expired foods?”; “Who’s to blame? Do consumers own a piece of food safety?”; and, “Which is the real ‘obesogen'—pizza or the pizza box?” Each topic will include a 7-minute presentation in support of (Yes, Pizza) followed by a 7-minute presentation in opposition of (No, Pizza Box) the proposed topic question. Each speaker will have 3 minutes for extemporaneous rebuttals. A 6-minute question/answer session will then follow to allow for audience participation. We will have electronic polling of the audience to allow for a Yes/No vote on each topic question prior to and following the discussion to evaluate whether people’s views have been changed by the presentations.

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food Microbiology

Convener: Kendra Nightingale, Texas Tech University

The good, the bad, and the ugly foods: Should we encourage the consumption of “ugly” and expired foods?
Yes: Sarah Cahill, FAO
No: Rob Tauxe, CDC

Who’s to blame? Do consumers own a piece of food safety?
Yes: Sarah Brew, Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
No: Bill Marler, Marler Clark, LLP

Sponsored by the ILSI North America Technical Committee on Food and Chemical Safety

Convener: Charles Barton, Valspar Corporation

Which is the real “obesogen”—pizza or the pizza box?
Pizza: Ruth Kava, American Council on Science and Health
Pizza Box: Stephen Safe, Texas A&M University

Chemical & Microbial Risk Assessment

Chemical and Microbial Risk Assessment: Similarities and Differences
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Convener: Doug Holt, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group

Abstract: In food safety, risk assessment is the scientific evaluation of known or potential health effects resulting from human exposure to chemicals or microorganisms. Exposure to pathogenic microorganisms is different from exposure to chemicals. Microorganisms differ from chemicals as they can grow or die and the level of exposure to microorganisms can change dramatically in a short period. The speakers in this session will discuss the similarities and differences between chemical and microbial risk assessment; risk and risk benefit analysis and will present some case studies.

Chemical Risk Assessments and their Uses in Decision Making
Joseph Rodricks, Ramboll Environ

Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment: Dealing with Biological Diversity
Robert Buchanan, University of Maryland

Safety and Risk Assessments: Fit for Purpose
Jane Van Doren, FDA

Poster Presentations

Listeria monocytogenes Salmonella Listeria monocytogenes

Fate of Listeria monocytogenes in Cocoa Powder during Isothermal Inactivation
P3-16
Presentation on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Authors: Hsieh-Chin Tsai, Washington State University, Marizela Silva, Washington State University, Juming Tang, Washington State University, Meijun Zhu, Washington State University

Introduction: Listeria monocytogenes can survive in dry condition for a long period of time. Despite an increasing number of studies addressing Salmonella inactivation in low-moisture foods, there is a general lack of knowledge related to L. monocytogenes inactivation in low moisture foods during thermal processing and to the factors impacting their survival in low moisture food. Cocoa powder is an essential ingredient and widely incorporated in different desserts and drinks and thus a possible source of L. monocytogenes contamination.

Purpose: To evaluate the thermal resistance of L. monocytogenes in cocoa powder and further investigate the impact of water activity (aw) on its survival in cocoa powder.

Methods: Natural unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s) was inoculated with three-strain L. monocytogenes cocktail (~9.0 log CFU/g), equilibrated to water activity (aw, 25°C) to 0.3 or 0.45, then subjected to isothermal treatments using aluminum TDT test cell containing 0.4 g of inoculated and equilibrated sample. The survivors were enumerated on TSAYE plates.

Results: Inactivation data resulted from different temperatures at both aw showed log-linear trend which was used to obtained thermal inactivation parameters. Thermal resistance of L. monocytogenes at 0.3 aw was significantly higher than that at 0.45 aw across all three temperatures. Listeria monocytogenes at 0.3 aw and 0.45 aw had D70°C of 7.44±1.17 and 4.77±0.28 min, D75°C of 3.62±0.03 and 2.84±0.09 min, and D80°C of 1.35±0.04 and 1.06±0.05 min, respectively, z-value at 0.3 aw and 0.45 aw was 13.48 and 15.31°C, respectively.

Significance: Listeria monocytogenes demonstrated much higher thermal resistance in cocoa powder compared to the high moisture foods, which is impacted by aw. Data provide valuable information for industry to validate thermal processing for control of L. monocytogenes in low moisture foods.

Salmonella

Assessment of Survival and Virulence of Salmonella in Low-moisture Foods
P3-17
Poster Presentation on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Authors: Victor Jayeola , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC, Jeffrey Farber , University of Guelph, CRIFS, Department of Food Science , Guelph , Canada, Sophia Kathariou , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC

Introduction: Low-moisture foods (LMF) have been implicated in multiple outbreaks of salmonellosis. However, mechanisms mediating survival and virulence of Salmonella in such foods remain poorly understood

Purpose: To assess survival and virulence of Salmonella in low moisture foods.

Methods : A two-strain mixture of Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhimurium and Enteritidis was used to inoculate two model LMF, chocolate and in shell pistachios. Products (100 g) were inoculated with four ml of the Salmonella cell suspension, dried for one to three hours until aw approximated that of the uninoculated product, aliquoted into 15-ml centrifuge tubes and stored in the dark at 22°C. Salmonella populations immediately after inoculation, after drying and at 1, 4, 6, 10, 15, and 21 days were determined in triplicate on nonselective (TSA-YE) and selective (XLD) media. Virulence was tested in the insect Galleria mellonella model by injecting 10 µl of rinsate from products at one day into the last left proleg of 10 larvae. Rinsate from uninoculated products were also injected as controls. The larvae were incubated at 37°C and larval mortality was daily monitored.

Results: The population of Salmonella in the inoculated products was eight and nine log CFU/g immediately after inoculation and 7.3 and 8.0 log CFU/g after drying for chocolate and pistachios, respectively. Populations decreased to 4.5 and 7.5 log CFU/g by 21 days in chocolate and pistachios, respectively. Recovery of Salmonella from either product on TSAYE and XLD was similar. Larvae inoculated with 3.4 log CFU/ml of the cocktail had a mortality of 100% after 24 h compared to 80% of larvae inoculated with 3.9 log CFU/ml cells from chocolate and 30% for larvae inoculated with 3.7 log CFU/ml cells from pistachios. The mortality of controls was 0 and 10% for uninoculated pistachios and chocolate, respectively.

Significance: Findings show that Salmonella can survive in chocolate liquor and pistachios and that cells adapted to the LMF environment retained virulence.

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