Summary of Awards to Date

Evaluation and application of practices for controlling Salmonella in nuts and nut products.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2009 - Aug. 31, 2012

Award Number

CA-D-FST-2035-OG

Funding Agency

USDA - CSREES

Amount Awarded

$595,589.00

Investigator

Linda J. Harris, Ph.D.
University of California, Davis

Co-Investigator(s)

Danyluk, M., Beuchat, L.

Summary

This proposal is a collaboration among scientists from the University of California - Davis, University of Florida - Lake Alfred, and University of Georgia - Griffin and includes applied research and outreach aimed at reducing foodborne illness from consumption nuts and nut products. Once considered uncommon, outbreaks of salmonellosis from nuts and nut products have been recently recognized and may be underreported. Little is known about the ecology of Salmonella in nuts and their products. Our overall goal is to evaluate relative microbiological risk using three nut system models: peanuts, pecans, and pistachios selected for their distinct handling, lack of available data, broad applicability, and relevance to food safety. We propose to evaluate a range of commercial handling and treatment practices for their effects on infiltration, survival, growth, and inactivation of Salmonella in the model nuts. Factors affecting infiltration, survival during long-term storage, and inactivation during cleaning, conditioning, shelling, drying, and roasting will be studied. Results of these studies will be used for risk model development and for development of outreach training and publications. Information gained from this research will reveal the adequacy and appropriateness of practices currently used in the nut industry in terms of controlling and eliminating Salmonella in inshell nuts, nutmeats, and roasted nut products. This knowledge will form the scientific basis for the adequacy of or need to improve these practices. We will partner with the nut industry to disseminate this new information and to evaluate its application and implementation; ultimately improving the safety of these products.