In the meat and poultry industry, it is essential to have a robust pathogen testing program to detect Salmonella and other potentially harmful organisms. These industries have tested this way for years, using PCR or standard plating methods to isolate and identify contamination in their food operations. Recently, the door has opened for not only pathogen detection, but also quantification.
So, what value does quantification bring to these industries? Quantification tells a more complete story of what is happening at each step of processing and at each facility, allowing for more targeted interventions to reduce pathogen counts in the areas needing to be addressed while allowing controlled production processes to continue. It also allows the setting of baseline standards to ensure food is safe for consumption.
As Dr. Mindy Brashears, former Under Secretary for Food Safety, notes in her Food Safe and Sound blog, “it’s the government’s turn to evaluate these quantification methods, as regulators will be left behind each day that passes as everyone else adopts these approaches.” She goes on to mention that this was a priority in the “Salmonella Roadmap” rolled out by FSIS last fall.
This topic will continue to be at the forefront as academia and industry keep generating data demonstrating the value that quantitation will bring to the meat and poultry industries. Recently, the first rapid pathogen enumeration method, SalQuant™, was AOAC approved. IAFP is supporting the value of quantification as well; they are presenting Hygiena™ with the IAFP Innovation Award for the development of this enumeration method. IAFP is contributing in other ways as well–they are hosting several sessions on quantification of Salmonella, as well as posters on the methods for quantifying not only Salmonella, but also Campylobacter.
Learn more about the quantification of pathogen information being presented by our Hygiena™ specialists and subject-matter experts below. Here are just a few of the sessions and posters from the Hygiena™ team:
Want to learn more? Read our article on the value of quantification: Quantification vs Prevalence – diagnostic tools for pathogen testing.