Studying how foodborne pathogens adapt in different foods and storage conditions could help scientists develop more efficient control strategies and growth inhibitors.
One study, published in late July in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that Listeria grows on refrigerated smoked salmon through different metabolic pathways than in laboratory culture — even when modified to have the same salt content and pH as the salmon.
“There may be ways we can use this information to control the pathogen both in foods as well as in infected people,” said principal investigator Dr. Teresa Bergholz, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences at North Dakota State University-Fargo.
Apart from some diarrhea or minor gastrointestinal problems, most people don’t get sick when they’re exposed to Listeria. But, if the pathogen gets into their bloodstream, it can cause listeriosis, a disease that kills one out of every five victims. Because of these odds, Listeria has the highest mortality rate of foodborne pathogens.
In order to avoid Listeria, CDC recommends that high-risk consumers heat hot dogs, lunch meats and cold cuts to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and avoid products with unpasteurized milk, refrigerated paté or meat spreads, and uncooked smoked seafood.
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