​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 Food Microbiology Committee achieves its mission through supporting sound science, and fostering collaboration between academia, government, and industry.

How are research priorities identified?

In advance of setting priorities for each new research cycle, the committee and its scientific advisors hold a research roundtable with representatives from federal and international agencies. These include: the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN) and Office of Food and Veterinary Medicine; the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); the 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.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Conagra Brands
Deibel Labs
General Mills, Inc.
Kraft Heinz Company
Mondelēz International
National Dairy Council

ACADEMIC ADVISORS
Kathleen Glass, PhD, University of Wisconsin
Haley Oliver, PhD, Purdue University

GOVERNMENT LIAISONS
Kristina Barlow, MS, US Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service

Heather Carleton, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Julie Kase, PhD, US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Jodi Williams, PhD, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Reference Strain Collection

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

Access the IAFNS collection at Cornell University.

Publications

Induction of the Viable-but-Nonculturable State in Salmonella Contaminating Dried Fruit

Salmonella is a leading foodborne pathogen globally causing numerous outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and remains the leading contributor to deaths attributed to foodborne disease in the United States and other industrialized nations. Therefore, efficient detection methods for Salmonella contaminating food are critical for public health and food safety. Culture-based microbiological methods are considered the gold standard for the detection and enumeration of Salmonella in food. Findings from this study suggest that unique stressors on dried fruit can induce the VBNC state in Salmonella, thus rendering it undetectable with culture-based methods even though the bacteria remain viable.

Read more about Induction of the Viable-but-Nonculturable State in Salmonella Contaminating Dried Fruit

Evaluation of the Impact of Skewness, Clustering, and Probe Sampling Plan on Aflatoxin Detection in Corn

Probe sampling plans for aflatoxin in corn attempt to reliably estimate concentrations in bulk corn given complications like skewed contamination distribution and hotspots. To evaluate and improve sampling plans, multiple sampling strategies were assessed by Monte Carlo simulation.

Read more about Evaluation of the Impact of Skewness, Clustering, and Probe Sampling Plan on Aflatoxin Detection in Corn

Survival and Inactivation by Advanced Oxidative Process of Foodborne Viruses in Model Low-Moisture Foods

Low-moisture foods (LMFs) are generally considered as ready-to-eat products, which undergo no or minimal pathogen reduction steps. However, numerous foodborne viral outbreaks associated with LMFs have been reported in recent years. The objective of this study was to examine the survival of foodborne viruses in LMFs and to evaluate the efficacy of advanced oxidative process treatment in the inactivation of these viruses.

Read more about Survival and Inactivation by Advanced Oxidative Process of Foodborne Viruses in Model Low-Moisture Foods

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Each year, the International Association for Food Protection hosts an Annual Meeting, providing attendees with information on current and emerging food safety issues, the latest science, innovative solutions to new and recurring problems, and the opportunity to network with thousands of food safety professionals from around the globe.

IAFNS is supporting three sessions, a roundtable event and three posters at the 2019 IAFP Annual Meeting.

Scientific Sessions:

Managing Large Multidisciplinary/Multi-Institutional Food Safety Projects - Effectively, Impactfully, and with Integrity Expand

Monday, July 22, 2019 | 1:30 - 5:15 PM | Ballroom D

Food safety is a complex and multidisciplinary challenge. Therefore, federally-funded food safety projects, and even industry-centered projects, increasingly involve large, multidisciplinary/multiinstitutional collaborative teams. However, very few individuals thrust into these roles have formal education or training in managing such projects. This symposium brings together a unique and diverse cohort of presenters, ranging from an expert on assessing the effectiveness and impact of research collaborations and centers (with experience on multiple food safety project teams) to experienced managers of such projects (in government, academic, and industry) to a representative of the Scientific Integrity Consortium. The speakers will describe measures for evaluating the effectiveness of such largescale collaborations, identify common features of successful collaborations, share best practices for forming and managing such teams, and outline essential foundational principles for ensuring the quality and integrity of the resulting research. A panel discussion is included to maximize opportunities for attendee interaction with the multiple perspectives provided by the speakers. After this session, attendees will have a better appreciation on how to play together well in the research sandbox.

Conveners: Bradley Marks, Michigan State University; Kendra Nightingale, Texas Tech University; and Isabel Walls, USDA NIFA

Scholarly Assessment of Large Scholarly Collaboration: Measures of Effectiveness and Impact
Denis Gray, PhD, North Carolina State University Managing Government-Academic-Industry Collaborations
Kimberly Cook, PhD, USDA ARS Lessons Learned from Managing NoroCORE, a Large USDA-CAP Project
Lee-Ann Jaykus, PhD, North Carolina State University Managing Food Safety Projects Across Multiple Boundaries - Internally and Externally
Edith Wilkin, PhD, Leprino Foods Report from the Scientific Integrity Consortium: Principles and Best Practices for Scientific Integrity
Linda Harris, PhD, University of California, Davis

This session is supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Commitee.

The Mitigation and Regulation of Heat-Formed Substances Produced in Foods During Cooking: What are the Unintended Consequences on Microbial Safety and Public Health? Expand

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | M107

A growing field in food safety is the focus on the potential risk of heat-formed substances produced during cooking. Compounds that are known as human health hazards are being increasingly identified as heat-formed substances present in food. Two prominent examples of this are acrylamide and furfuryl alcohol, both of which are present in significant amounts in a wide array of foods. This session will help inform how the risk assessment process of heat-formed substances can incorporate the benefits of cooking and cooked food. It will highlight the genetic changes that allowed humans to consume cooked food. The session will then explore the unintended consequences in mitigating heat formed substances, such as introducing microbial hazards. It will address how to assess and communicate these risks to food processors and consumers. The potential impact and implications on the food industry and, ultimately, the end consumer, of using current approaches to assess the potential public health impact of compounds formed during routine cooking of food will be debated.

Convener: Steven Hermansky, PharmD, PhD, DABT, ConAgra Brands

Genetic Evidence of Human Adaptation to a Cooked Diet and its Role in Human Health and Food Safety - Video not available
Steven Hermansky, PharmD, PhD, DABT, ConAgra Brands Balancing Microbial Food Safety Risks with Mitigating Heat-Formed Substances in Foods - Video not available
Scott Hood, PhD, General Mills The Need for a Holistic Toxicological Assessment of Heat-formed Substances within A Food Matrix -Video
Michael Dourson, PhD, DABT, FATS, FSRA, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment

This session is supported by the IAFNS Food and Chemical Safety Committee.

Let's Hear from Next Generation Food Safety Scientists on Pathogen Behavior in Ready to Eat Foods Expand

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | 1:30 - 3:30 PM | Ballroom E

A current research collaboration between Health Canada, the University of Guelph and North Carolina State University is investigating the survival and inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and foodborne viruses during the storage of low moisture foods. This is a wide-ranging research consortium funded by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee and includes a number of developing research scientists who will also present their findings. The IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee 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 by funding research that is conducted at institutions who also train the next generation of food safety scientists.

Ready-to-eat low moisture products such as nuts, dried fruits, cereal products, and chocolate are often ingredients used in the manufacturing of many food products. They carry significant potential for the amplification of outbreaks and recalls over a wide variety of products. The research consortium represented by this next generation of food safety experts is studying several aspects of pathogen behavior in low moisture ready-to-eat foods and goes beyond traditional thermal mitigation strategies.

Conveners: Laurie Post, PhD, Deibel Labs; Edith Wilkin, PhD, Leprino Foods

Survival, Inactivation and Detection of Foodborne Viruses During Long Term Storage in Chocolate, Pistachios and Cornflakes
Neda Nasheri, PhD, Health Canada Survival and Virulence of L. monocytogenes During Storage on Low Moisture Foods and Characterization of the Low Moisture Foods Microbiome
Vivian Ly, MSc candidate, University of Guelph Nontraditional Decontamination Methods for Salmonella Reduction in Dried Fruits and Cereals
Kayla Murray, PhD candidate, University of Guelph Identification of Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Long-Term Survival of Salmonella in Pistachios, Dried Apples, and Cornflakes
Victor Oladimeji Jayeola, PhD candidate, North Carolina State University

This session is supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Roundtable Event:

Is It Time for Food Safety Performance Standards Since Zero Risk Is Not an Option? Expand

Monday, July 22, 2019 | 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | Ballroom E

Food safety systems rely on verification activities to determine if the system is working as designed and validated. Microbiological performance standards can be used to verify if a processing system is adequately controlling a specific hazard. Performance standards should be set to protect public health. Sampling protocols and microbiological testing methods must be appropriate for the food being tested. In the US poultry industry, performance standards have been in place to measure the prevalence of Salmonella. Over time, the performance standards have changed to reflect the improved conditions in the industry. Prevalence based performance standards may work for other product categories, especially in dry products of raw agricultural products such as wheat flours and the produce area especially for frozen fruits and vegetables. This roundtable discussion will explore the current and potential future uses of performance standards in foods where it is not reasonable to expect zero presence of pathogens.

Convener: Christina Stam, PhD, Kraft Heinz

Panelists:
Craig Hedberg, PhD, University of Minnesota
Candace Doepker, PhD, ToxStrategies
Angie Siemens, PhD, Cargill
Scott Hood, PhD, General Mills
Donna Garren, PhD, American Frozen Food Institute

This roundtable event is supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Poster Presentations:

A Novel Simulation Approach to Improving the Effectiveness of Sampling for Bulk Food Products - Video
Eric Cheng, University of Illinois | P1-124 | Monday, July 22, 8:30am - 6:15pm Global Gene Expression Analysis of Salmonella Contaminating Low-Moisture Foods - Video
Victor Oladimeji Jayeola, North Carolina State University | P1-201 | Monday, July 22, 8:30am - 6:15pm Prevalence and Characteristics of Selected Foodborne Bacterial Pathogens in Post-Hurricane Florence Floodwaters - Video
Jeff Niedermeyer, North Carolina State University | P3-161 | Wednesday, July 24, 8:30am - 3:30pm

Learn more about the IAFP Annual Meeting here.

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Each year, the International Association for Food Protection hosts an Annual Meeting, providing attendees with information on current and emerging food safety issues, the latest science, innovative solutions to new and recurring problems, and the opportunity to network with thousands of food safety professionals from around the globe.

IAFNS is supporting three sessions, a roundtable event and three posters at the 2019 IAFP Annual Meeting.

Scientific Sessions:

Managing Large Multidisciplinary/Multi-Institutional Food Safety Projects - Effectively, Impactfully, and with Integrity Expand

Monday, July 22, 2019 | 1:30 - 5:15 PM | Ballroom D

Food safety is a complex and multidisciplinary challenge. Therefore, federally-funded food safety projects, and even industry-centered projects, increasingly involve large, multidisciplinary/multiinstitutional collaborative teams. However, very few individuals thrust into these roles have formal education or training in managing such projects. This symposium brings together a unique and diverse cohort of presenters, ranging from an expert on assessing the effectiveness and impact of research collaborations and centers (with experience on multiple food safety project teams) to experienced managers of such projects (in government, academic, and industry) to a representative of the Scientific Integrity Consortium. The speakers will describe measures for evaluating the effectiveness of such largescale collaborations, identify common features of successful collaborations, share best practices for forming and managing such teams, and outline essential foundational principles for ensuring the quality and integrity of the resulting research. A panel discussion is included to maximize opportunities for attendee interaction with the multiple perspectives provided by the speakers. After this session, attendees will have a better appreciation on how to play together well in the research sandbox.

Conveners: Bradley Marks, Michigan State University; Kendra Nightingale, Texas Tech University; and Isabel Walls, USDA NIFA

Scholarly Assessment of Large Scholarly Collaboration: Measures of Effectiveness and Impact
Denis Gray, PhD, North Carolina State University Managing Government-Academic-Industry Collaborations
Kimberly Cook, PhD, USDA ARS Lessons Learned from Managing NoroCORE, a Large USDA-CAP Project
Lee-Ann Jaykus, PhD, North Carolina State University Managing Food Safety Projects Across Multiple Boundaries - Internally and Externally
Edith Wilkin, PhD, Leprino Foods Report from the Scientific Integrity Consortium: Principles and Best Practices for Scientific Integrity
Linda Harris, PhD, University of California, Davis

This session is supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Commitee.

The Mitigation and Regulation of Heat-Formed Substances Produced in Foods During Cooking: What are the Unintended Consequences on Microbial Safety and Public Health? Expand

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | M107

A growing field in food safety is the focus on the potential risk of heat-formed substances produced during cooking. Compounds that are known as human health hazards are being increasingly identified as heat-formed substances present in food. Two prominent examples of this are acrylamide and furfuryl alcohol, both of which are present in significant amounts in a wide array of foods. This session will help inform how the risk assessment process of heat-formed substances can incorporate the benefits of cooking and cooked food. It will highlight the genetic changes that allowed humans to consume cooked food. The session will then explore the unintended consequences in mitigating heat formed substances, such as introducing microbial hazards. It will address how to assess and communicate these risks to food processors and consumers. The potential impact and implications on the food industry and, ultimately, the end consumer, of using current approaches to assess the potential public health impact of compounds formed during routine cooking of food will be debated.

Convener: Steven Hermansky, PharmD, PhD, DABT, ConAgra Brands

Genetic Evidence of Human Adaptation to a Cooked Diet and its Role in Human Health and Food Safety - Video not available
Steven Hermansky, PharmD, PhD, DABT, ConAgra Brands Balancing Microbial Food Safety Risks with Mitigating Heat-Formed Substances in Foods - Video not available
Scott Hood, PhD, General Mills The Need for a Holistic Toxicological Assessment of Heat-formed Substances within A Food Matrix -Video
Michael Dourson, PhD, DABT, FATS, FSRA, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment

This session is supported by the IAFNS Food and Chemical Safety Committee.

Let's Hear from Next Generation Food Safety Scientists on Pathogen Behavior in Ready to Eat Foods Expand

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | 1:30 - 3:30 PM | Ballroom E

A current research collaboration between Health Canada, the University of Guelph and North Carolina State University is investigating the survival and inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and foodborne viruses during the storage of low moisture foods. This is a wide-ranging research consortium funded by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee and includes a number of developing research scientists who will also present their findings. The IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee 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 by funding research that is conducted at institutions who also train the next generation of food safety scientists.

Ready-to-eat low moisture products such as nuts, dried fruits, cereal products, and chocolate are often ingredients used in the manufacturing of many food products. They carry significant potential for the amplification of outbreaks and recalls over a wide variety of products. The research consortium represented by this next generation of food safety experts is studying several aspects of pathogen behavior in low moisture ready-to-eat foods and goes beyond traditional thermal mitigation strategies.

Conveners: Laurie Post, PhD, Deibel Labs; Edith Wilkin, PhD, Leprino Foods

Survival, Inactivation and Detection of Foodborne Viruses During Long Term Storage in Chocolate, Pistachios and Cornflakes
Neda Nasheri, PhD, Health Canada Survival and Virulence of L. monocytogenes During Storage on Low Moisture Foods and Characterization of the Low Moisture Foods Microbiome
Vivian Ly, MSc candidate, University of Guelph Nontraditional Decontamination Methods for Salmonella Reduction in Dried Fruits and Cereals
Kayla Murray, PhD candidate, University of Guelph Identification of Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Long-Term Survival of Salmonella in Pistachios, Dried Apples, and Cornflakes
Victor Oladimeji Jayeola, PhD candidate, North Carolina State University

This session is supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Roundtable Event:

Is It Time for Food Safety Performance Standards Since Zero Risk Is Not an Option? Expand

Monday, July 22, 2019 | 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | Ballroom E

Food safety systems rely on verification activities to determine if the system is working as designed and validated. Microbiological performance standards can be used to verify if a processing system is adequately controlling a specific hazard. Performance standards should be set to protect public health. Sampling protocols and microbiological testing methods must be appropriate for the food being tested. In the US poultry industry, performance standards have been in place to measure the prevalence of Salmonella. Over time, the performance standards have changed to reflect the improved conditions in the industry. Prevalence based performance standards may work for other product categories, especially in dry products of raw agricultural products such as wheat flours and the produce area especially for frozen fruits and vegetables. This roundtable discussion will explore the current and potential future uses of performance standards in foods where it is not reasonable to expect zero presence of pathogens.

Convener: Christina Stam, PhD, Kraft Heinz

Panelists:
Craig Hedberg, PhD, University of Minnesota
Candace Doepker, PhD, ToxStrategies
Angie Siemens, PhD, Cargill
Scott Hood, PhD, General Mills
Donna Garren, PhD, American Frozen Food Institute

This roundtable event is supported by the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Poster Presentations:

A Novel Simulation Approach to Improving the Effectiveness of Sampling for Bulk Food Products - Video
Eric Cheng, University of Illinois | P1-124 | Monday, July 22, 8:30am - 6:15pm Global Gene Expression Analysis of Salmonella Contaminating Low-Moisture Foods - Video
Victor Oladimeji Jayeola, North Carolina State University | P1-201 | Monday, July 22, 8:30am - 6:15pm Prevalence and Characteristics of Selected Foodborne Bacterial Pathogens in Post-Hurricane Florence Floodwaters - Video
Jeff Niedermeyer, North Carolina State University | P3-161 | Wednesday, July 24, 8:30am - 3:30pm

Learn more about the IAFP Annual Meeting here.

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