New way to control E.coli in fermented sausages

Related tags Escherichia coli

New techniques to minimise the risk of harmful food pathogen E.
coli in fermented dry sausages could be on the way as scientists
find acidic conditions encountered during the digestive process may
not be enough to inactivate some harmful bacteria say Canadian

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is one of the leading causes of foodborne diseases and can result in severe complications in humans ranging from hemorrhagic colitis to death.

Previous outbreaks have been primarily associated with ground beef and raw milk, but a recent increase in cases involving highly acidic foods such as fermented dry sausages, mayonnaise, and apple cider have raised new concerns.

Global food production, processing, distribution and preparation are creating an increased demand for food safety research in order to minimise the risks and exposure to food pathogens that grow in parallel to an ever-expanding food supply.

In industrialised countries, the percentage of people suffering from foodborne diseases each year has been reported to be up to 30 per cent and in the US, for example, around 76 million cases of foodborne diseases, resulting in 325,000 hospitalisations and 5,000 deaths, are estimated to occur each year.

For this latest study, fermented dry sausages were inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 and exposed to synthetic saliva for one minute, synthetic gastric juice for 120 minutes, and synthetic pancreatic juice for 250 minutes.

Results showed that not only did existing E. coli O157:H7 cells remain viable after exposure to both synthetic saliva and gastric juice, they began to grow at a significant rate when exposed to the pancreatic juice.

"From a food safety point of view, this implies that the industrial processes used to manufacture dry sausages must be designed in such a way that no viable E. coli O157:H7 cell can ever be found in an average portion of sausage for human consumption, because no additional protection will be afforded by the subsequent digestive process,"​ say the study researchers from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-food research and development centre in Quebec.

"This new information will be very valuable in refining our assessment of the risk associated with the manufacture of fermented dry sausages with regard to E. coli O157:H7,"​ they add.

Full findings of the study are published in the November issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70. 11: 6637-6642​.

Related topics R&D

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