Research – Mom was right about not touching slime; researchers looking at pathogens in food facilities

Food Safety News biofilm

New research underway seeks to determine how and where bacteria hide in food processing plants so that they can be eliminated, to the benefit of public health and the bottom line of food companies.

The project involves scientists at Texas A&M, Stanford University, and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service U.S. Meat Animal Research Center’s pilot meat processing facility in Clay Center, NE. Their work has the backing of a $479,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

While the project could ultimately benefit food facilities from fresh produce processing plants to candy makers, the researchers will be taking an extra close look at the meat industry.

Led by Sapna Chitlapilly Dass, a faculty member in Texas A&M’s Department of Animal Science, the team will be looking at “hotspots” that easily harbor biofilms, also known as slime. Dass and the other researchers are trying to figure out not only where bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli O157: H7 are hiding, but what sanitizers they have become resistant to.

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