The Food Safety Consortium
Research Projects 2009-10

Unversity of Arkansas
Iowa State University
Kansas State University

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University of Arkansas

Michael Johnson
Steven C. Ricke


During the year of 2009-10 continuation of the Food Safety Consortium at the federal congressional level received support at a budgetary level similar to the previous year. The presentations delivered at an FSC symposium in 2006 were the basis of a book that was prepared by FSC personnel that was released by the University of Arkansas Press in 2010. The book, Perspectives on Food Safety Issues of Animal Derived Foods, consists of 24 chapters divided into sections correlating to the topic areas of the symposium. The chapters were written by several symposium presenters and peer reviewed by food safety researchers from several universities and industries. Upon publication, the book was made available to symposium participants and remains available for sale through the UA Press national distribution network.

The progress and success of our UA Food Safety Consortium research projects are also featured e ach quarter. T he FSC produces The Food Safety Consortium Newsletter which highlights current findings and related news that have occurred during that quarter. All editions are published only as PDFs and HTML documents that are posted online with the corresponding URL being e-mailed to our distribution list.  Each edition consists of feature articles about research projects being pursued by FSC investigators, a summary of recent papers and presentations by FSC personnel and reports of other newsworthy developments and activities in food safety around the world.  Please contact Dave Edmark ( if you wish to be on the email list or would like access to past issues.

Summarized in the following sections are some of the brief updates on research projects directed toward enhancing and improving the safety of poultry products from “farm to table.” These are excerpts from investigators’ reports based on their pre- and post-harvest research projects funded by multi-year grants, as reported for the fiscal year 2009-10 funding cycle.

Pre-Harvest Projects

Campylobacter: Poultry-derived Campylobacter continues to be a leading cause of human foodborne illness. Young Min Kwon and co-workers studied the genetic diversity of Campylobacter populations within the ceca of individual chickens to better understand the nature of intestinal colonization and diversification of colonizing Campylobacter species. Kwon’s group demonstrated a novel target enrichment technique with high reproducibility and ease as well as demonstrated its implication using Salmonella as model organism, which can be further extended to other bacterial species from animals and human sources for detection of immunologically important genes.
With the advent of next generation sequencing technology, it is now possible to carry out in-depth and large scale sequencing projects extremely fast and inexpensive.  However, in many occasions it is still more practical to sequence and analyze only small regions of the entire genome that are informative for the purpose. Although several target-enrichment or target capture methods exist, they have their own strengths and weaknesses in capturing target DNA sequences. The novel target enrichment strategy employed by Kwon has great potential for robust amplification of hundreds of targets and should find broad applications for efficient analysis of multiple genomic targets for various experimental goals.
The novel molecular typing method developed in Kwon’s study will be a valuable tool to study ecology and epidemiology of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter in poultry and poultry houses. The prototype of this method, MLST-seq, demonstrated in our study using Salmonella isolates will be further improved and applied to reveal missing links in the epidemiology of Campylobacter in poultry houses. It will provide new insights for development of effective measures for controlling Campylobacter species.

Over 50% of foodborne salmonellosis cases are associated with poultry and poultry products. Clearly more intervention steps are needed to limit Salmonella colonization at the pre-harvest stage of production, and vaccines represent an economical approach because they can provide immunization protection in the young chick’s life that will potentially carry over during the entire production cycle. 
Steven Ricke
and co-workers began construction of a vaccine that aimed at deleting two genes the lysA gene and the hilA gene. The deletion of the lysA gene is expected to turn Salmonella Typhimurium into a lysine auxotroph unable to grow in media lacking exogenous lysine. The hilA gene is a transcriptional activator and regulator of expression multiple genes in response to environmental conditions including pH, osmolarity, oxygen tension and low nutrients.

To delete the genes of interest, homology arms specific to 50bp upstream and 50bp downstream of the target gene were added to an insertion cassette coding for kanamycin/neomycin resistance. These arms were added using conventional PCR. The Salmonella strain LT2 was used for the vaccine. Using electroporation, Ricke’s team inserted a plasmid into Salmonella LT2 coding for the enzyme recombinase. The recombinase enzyme will allow the replacement of the hilA or lysA gene with the cassette that was constructed (i.e. homolgous recombination). The researchers have successfully completed the construction of the two cassettes (one specific to delete each gene of interest). In addition, the transformation of Salmonella Typhimurium LT2 with the recombinase encoding plasmid was successfully accomplished. The final step in the construction of the vaccine was to perform the homologous recombination. Initial results are promising and growth kinetics and in-vitro characterization of Salmonella Typhimurium LT2 double mutant strain are ongoing.

The research by Ricke’s group aimed at creating a live attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium vaccine. The transformation of the strain and the addition of the homology arms were successful. The final step in the construction of the vaccine was to perform homologous recombination; this was also completed. To confirm the presence of a double mutation, further analysis is required using Southern Blot analysis. Once the success of the homologous recombination is determined, it is necessary to perform growth curve studies. Growth kinetics and in-vitro characterization of the Salmonella Typhimurium LT2 double mutant strain will establish the optimal vaccine parameters and determine the stability of the mutant. Preliminary results show lysine depletion at 35h .  If growth deficiencies are observed in vitro, this may translate into an inability to stimulate the immune system which is crucial for vaccination.  

Polyclonal antibodies derived from egg yolks have considerable potential for food safety applications depending on how egg yolk antibodies (EYA) derived from one serovar of Salmonella cross-react with other Salmonella serovars. The objective of a study by Ricke’s group was to evaluate EYA polyclonal specific for Salmonella spp. on how cross reactive they are with serotypes Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis and whether this could offer cross protection potential in ecosystems such as the chicken gut.
For specific pathogen detection assays (immunological assays, biosensors and after detection applications), high specificity is needed. In this case, specificity of anti-S. Enteritidis fimbrial egg yolk antibody to homologous serovar could be useful for diagnostic assays. In contrast, antibodies that exhibit wide spectrum of activity against multiple pathogenic enterobacteria would be a more likely candidate for therapeutic applications. The study observed that the anti-OMP and anti-LPS egg yolk antibodies exhibited strong cross-reactivity to all 15 different Salmonella serovars and E. coli K-12. Both OMP and LPS are often found as co-contaminants in purified forms and synergize the activity of the other in activating macrophages and the production of inflammatory cytokines. A cocktail of OMP and LPS antigens of S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium appears to be the best candidate for providing protection to laying hens for producing egg yolk antibodies that could protect against colonization of the widest range of pathogenic enterobactreiaeceae.

The laboratory led by Billy Hargis aims to develop a novel, cost-effective, feed-stable probiotic with widespread utilization and improve probiotic production, delivery and clinical efficacy for human and animal use.  In unpublished experiments, the lab has demonstrated that one Bacillus subtilis spore isolate was as effective as our lab-based probiotic (FloraMaxTM) for Salmonella reduction and was equal to bacitracin for prevention of experimental necrotic enteritis and was able to markedly reduce necrotic enteritis issues in large scale feed trials.  In turkeys, early performance (weeks 2-6) was improved in commercial turkeys to levels equal to those observed with a very popular organic arsenical. 

Other isolates or combinations of isolates with increased potency and efficacy may be identified with continued research.  Some of these environmental Bacillus isolates have been evaluated in vitro for antimicrobial activity against selected bacterial pathogens, heat stability, and the ability to grow to high numbers.  Unpublished experimental evaluations have confirmed to improve body weight gain as well as Salmonella sp.or Clostridium perfringens reduction in commercial turkey and broiler operations when compared with medicated (nitarsone) or control non medicated diets respectively (p < 0.05). Preliminary data suggests that these isolates could be an effective alternative to antibiotic growth promoters for commercial poultry. Importantly, improved efficiency of amplification and sporulation is absolutely essential to gain widespread industry acceptance of a feed-based probiotic for antemortem food-borne pathogen intervention. Both vegetative growth and sporulation rate have been optimized in the laboratory, which may lead to new efficiencies for commercial amplification and manufacture of a cost-effective product at very high spore counts. 

In order to select even more effective isolates, Hargis’ lab has focused on the mechanistic action of new Bacillus candidates.  Preliminary studies conducted in our laboratory indicate a potential mechanistic action of these new Bacillus candidates at least partially involves rapid activation of innate host immune mechanisms (system or responses) in chickens and turkeys (unpublished data). This data provides an exciting possibility for identification of vastly superior and more potent probiotics in the near future.

Post-Harvest Projects

Campylobacter: Campylobacter is a leading cause of bacterial diarrhea illness in industrialized nations around the world and many cases of campylobacteriosis can be linked to careless handling and/or consuming raw or undercooked poultry and poultry products. Increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing predicament. Effective Sept. 12, 2005, the FDA withdrew approval for the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry production  partly due to multiple studies finding links between antibiotic resistance of Campylobacter and fluoroquinolone use in live poultry.

However, linkages between antibiotic use in animal feeds and antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens of clinical importance remains elusive.  A key part of addressing this is the profiling antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens isolated from locations where antibiotics have not been used. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of organic poultry partly due to the fact that consumers are attracted to poultry raised without antibiotics. However, little published data is available on the foodborne pathogen profiles from these organic poultry products.  Ricke’s group has initiated studies to characterize isolates from these sources to develop a better baseline for understanding the prevalence and ecology of antibiotic resistance.

group found that rearing conditions of poultry had an impact on the phenotype and genotype of Campylobacter. The prevalence of antibiotic resistance is less in Campylobacter isolated from organically raised poultry compared to Campylobacter isolated from conventionally raised poultry. Furthermore, genetic diversity of Campylobacter isolated from organic carcasses appears to be very diverse.  

In this study, samples were taken from two farms (N=178; feed, water, drag swabs and insect traps), retail carcasses (N=48) and one processing plant (N=16). A total of 105 Campylobacter isolates were obtained from 53 (30%), 36 (75%) and 16 (100%) of the samples from the farms, retail carcasses and processing plant, respectively. Of the 106 isolates collected, 65 were C. jejuni, 31 were C. coli and 9 were Campylobacter spp.

The isolates were assessed for antibiotic resistance to five antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and clindamycin) using a disc diffusion assay. In addition, the researchers used flaA SVR typing to determine the genetic diversity of the isolates. None of the isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, tetracycline or clindamycin. Only one isolate that was obtained from a processing plant had resistance to nalidixic acid. The results of this survey indicate that the prevalence of Campylobacter on organic retail carcasses is similar to data reporting Campylobacter on conventional retail carcasses. However, there was a large difference in antibiotic resistance when comparing isolates obtained from organic poultry with isolates obtained from conventional poultry.

In a separate study, Campylobacter isolates were collected, between September 2009 and May 2010, from retail carcasses with different rearing conditions and processing treatments. The prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance was characterized, with 5% of the Campylobacter isolates collected showed ciprofloxacin resistance.

Another team led by Ricke observed that cost-effective rapid, portable and sensitive detection systems for Campylobacter jejuni in poultry products and other environmental samples is critical to control campylobacteriosis. New immunological and molecular probes are also needed to determine the mechanisms of colonization, pathogenesis and importance of strain variation of C. jejuni. The aim of this research is to develop efficient monoclonal antibodies (MAb) probes for improving the detection and quantitative methods for C. jejuni and other Campylobacter on raw poultry and other food products. The research led to the development of new hybridoma clones producing highly specific and high affinity MAb probes for Campylobacter and C. jejuni. The monoclonal antibodies produced by these Campy-hybridoma cells will exhibit different reactivity patterns to Campylobacter and C. jejuni antigens. These MAbs are classified into two distinct groups based on current evaluation: (1) MAbs specific for C. jejuni without reacting with C. coli or other Campylobacter antigens; (2) MAbs reacting with all C. jejuni and other Campylobacter species. In this step, the researchers have grown the Campy-hybridoma cells and evaluated the ability to produce MAbs by ELISA. They have also characterized complete specificity and sensitivity of these new MAbs against a wide range of C. jejuni, C. coli and Acrobacter butzleri strains commonly encountered in chicken carcass rinses.

Listeria: Studying L. monocytogenes gene regulation under conditions of energy/nutrient availability can reveal insights into how L. monocytogenes is able to persist through the food chain as well as survive passage through the intestinal tract and cause disease. Ricke's group has continued to focus on mechanisms of energy metabolism of L. monocytogenes using genetic methodologies. Their experimental approach for this phase of the project was designed to reveal how exposure to specific metabolic inhibitors effects L. monocytogenes gene regulation.

Disk diffusion assays were performed on brain heart infusion (BHI) agar plates using the antimicrobial nisin either alone, or in combination with Cold Pressed Terpeneless Valencia Oil (CPTVO). This experiment evaluated the degree of inhibition that a combination of nisin and CPTVO had on the growth and survival of L. monocytogenes 10403S (wild-type as well as a mutant strain lacking the stress response regulator SigB).

It was noted that on occasion, following exposure to CPTVO + parafilm, colonies of Listeria, (particularly strains of L. innocua and L. monocytogenes) would grow within the zone of inhibition, as if they had developed resistance. The identity of these colonies was double checked to confirm their genus and species using RAPID L. mono selective and differential media. The putative mutants (n=13) were re-tested for their sensitivity to CPTVO + parafilm by disc diffusion (in duplicate) to examine whether the resistant phenotype was persistent. All isolates exhibited at least some reduction in the size of their zone of inhibition; the most dramatic reductions were observed for the potential L. innocua mutants, formerly 59 mm on average and now an average of 30 mm.

Further studies will need to be performed in order to gather more information about the mechanism responsible for CPTVO's antimicrobial activity as well as for the synergism observed between CPTVO and the other antimicrobials in this study. This approach to inhibiting L. monocytogenes has potential in the food industry as an all natural, GRAS antimicrobial treatment that may be added to food products post-processing, particularly in ready-to-eat (RTE) food products in which L. monocytogenes is more likely to cause foodborne illness.

 Navam Hetteriarachchy and her group examined nine different phenolics (epicatechin, catechin, caffeic, protocatechuic, gentisic, benzoic, vanillic, syringic and gallic acids) that are naturally present in plant foods for their effects on L. monocytogenes, S. Typhimurium and Ecsherichia . coli O157:H7 model systems. Gentisic, benzoic and vanillic acids (5000 µg/ml) were effective along with EDTA (200 µg/ml) against S.T., E.c. and L.m. (3.0-3.8 log CFU/ml reductions each). The packaging of phenolics and EDTA in nanoparticles improved the inhibition of pathogens to 6.0-6.8 log CFU/ml at a much lower concentration (1100 µg/ml) than when used individually (5000 µg/ml). Nanoparticle-mediated delivery can enhance inhibition of food-borne pathogens at lower phenolic acid concentrations (0.5 %). These results suggest that naturally occurring phenolic compounds that are present in grape seed as well as other extracts delivered as nanoparticles have the potential to serve as antimicrobials. But further research is needed to optimize conditions including the release of phenolic compounds from nanoparticles over time and their study in meat system for use as food preservatives or natural and safe substitutes to chemical disinfectants in food systems to better control pathogens.


This has been another highly productive year for food safety research conducted by FSC researchers at the University of Arkansas. Research projects supported by the UA FSC continue to develop and apply scientific results that will lead to applications that effectively limit initial pathogen establishment in live poultry and inhibit their proliferation in post-harvest settings.


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Iowa State University

James Dickson
James S. Dickson

The Iowa State University component of the Food Safety Consortium funded four research projects and two diversity graduate assistantships in 2009-2010. Research scientists representing several academic departments at the university, as well as USDA-ARS and HHS-FDA, were involved.  The primary basis for research under this research program has been the enhancement of the safety of pork and pork products.  The research projects encompassed many aspects of food safety as it is currently viewed, from the farm to the consumer.

Diversity Graduate Assistantships

Recognizing the need to enhance diversity in the field of food safety, the Iowa State University portion of the Food Safety Consortium funded two diversity assistantships in 2009-2010. This support was one-half of the typical assistantship, with the major professor supplying the matching funds and tuition funding. The students receiving support were Ph.D. student, working in the area of risk assessment and microbiological safety of pork products.

Research Grants

Preharvest Interventions

The Iowa State University component of the Food Safety Consortium funded one research project relating to antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter in swine.

Drs. Qijing Zhang, Ronald Griffith and Byeonghwa Jeon studied the multiple mechanisms by which bacteria acquire antimicrobial resistance, drug efflux pumps actively mediate the extrusion of structurally diverse antimicrobials and confer antibiotic resistance. Their research recently identified a multidrug efflux pump (named CmeABC) in Campylobacter. Based on their findings, they hypothesize that inhibiting CmeABC will potentially block antibiotic resistance and prevent colonization of Campylobacter in animal hosts. Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) antisense agents are DNA-mimic synthetic polymers, carrying a pseudo-peptide backbone with nucleic acid bases. Because of its specific recognition of nucleotide sequence, strong affinity to nucleic acids, and resistance to nuclease degradations, PNA is often used in antisense technology to inhibit gene expression with high specificity. In this study, they examined the feasibility of using PNA to specifically inhibit the function of CmeABC. The showed that both CmeA-PNA and CmeB-PNA reduced both intrinsic and acquired resistance to ciprofloxacin and erythromycin in Campylobacter. A great reduction in antimicrobial MICs was achieved by the combined use of the CmeA-PNA and CmeB-PNA, suggesting a synergistic role of the two PNAs in inhibiting the function of CmeABC. These results illustrate the feasibility of this antisense technology in blocking the function of the CmeABC multidrug efflux transporter and overcoming antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter in swine.

Post-Harvest Interventions

The Food Safety Consortium funded two post-harvest research projects, one on decontamination and the other on the safety of naturally cured pork products. Ready-to-eat (RTE) cooked meat products such as hams, sausages and rolls have been the subject of large product recalls and multistate outbreaks linked to Listeria monocytogenes in recent years. Several post-cooking treatments, other than irradiation, have been tested to control L. monocytogenes in RTE meat products, but only with limited successes.
Dr. Joseph Sebranek’s research focused on naturally cured pork products. Growing concern among consumers about nitrite in processed meats has created demand for natural products without direct addition of nitrite or nitrate. Studies on commercial “uncured” and “No-Nitrite/Nitrate-Added” meat products indicated that there was less control of nitrite in these products and pathogens were more prone to grow. In order to improve the safety of the “uncured” meats, several natural ingredients were utilized in a cured meat model system to determine their inhibitory effect on Listeria monocytogenes. Results showed that cranberry powder at 1%, 2% and 3% resulted in 2-4 log cfu/g less growth of L. monocytogenes compared to the controls with or without 150 ppm nitrite, respectively (P<0.05). Other natural compounds, such as cherry powder, lime powder and grape seed extract, also provided measureable inhibition to L. monocytogenes when combined with cranberry powder (P<0.05).  With 50 ppm added nitrite, both the cranberry powder and commercial VegStable 517 (blend of cherry powder, lime powder and vinegar) delayed L. monocytogenes by about 3-6 days and resulted in about 2 log 10 lower growth of the organism after 12 days compared to control treatments.   

Consumer Information

It is imperative that the information developed in the research laboratory be transferred to the general public, in a format which is accessible to them. The Consortium continues to help fund the food safety web page designed and maintained under the direction of Dr. Catherine Strohbehn. The Food Safety Consortium consumer website project continues to receive a significant number of site visits and be recognized for its work. The web site developed as part of the Food Safety Project at Iowa State University ( and is one of the leading food safety web sites in the world with about two-thirds of its visitors from the United States. More than 3 million page views were recorded this past year from close to nine million hits (average hits per day of 23,461). Frequently visited pages included food safety news, SafeFood Lessons, and the Spanish version of Guide to Food Safety for Retail Operations.

The Food Safety Consortium and USDA have enabled the Food Safety Project team to reach millions of consumers with up-to-date food safety information.  Providing consumers, food service workers, educators and other groups with access to reliable, timely, unbiased food safety information via the World Wide Web is one part of the process to increase knowledge with the goal of improving safe food handling behaviors. 


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Kansas State University

Curtis Kastner
Curtis Kastner

This past year Kansas State University has continued to make progress on all Consortium objectives, specifically on hazard detection hazard control strategies, policy, trade, and education. The Consortium continues to supplement USDA funding 5:1 with non-federal support. That leveraging has enhanced research outputs relative to the following projects.

Hazard Detection

Contamination of food products with low levels of ammonia from refrigerant leaks is a common occurrence in the refrigerated/frozen storage industry. Unfortunately, there is little information available on evaluation methods and effects of ammonia contamination of various food products. The objective of this study was to evaluate meat contaminated by low levels of ammonia under refrigeration storage conditions. The results showed that exposed meat readily takes up ammonia at all concentrations during extensive exposure times (46h) and at refrigeration temperatures.

The level of 2-dodecyclcyclobutanone (2-DCB) in ground beef irradiated by low energy X-ray and gamma rays was evaluated. Because the 2-DCB concentration was consistently the same in gamma-ray and low-energy X-ray irradiated patties, we assume that these two types of irradiation produce the same chemical reaction in irradiated food and there will be no difference in their lethal effects on microorganisms in food. Low-energy X-ray can be used to kill pathogenic microorganisms residing on the surface of foods without quality deteriorating because it has low penetration capacity.

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are mutagenic and suspected carcinogenic compounds that are produced in protein-rich muscle foods that have been barbecued, grilled, broiled or fried. Epidemiology studies suggest that dietary intake of HCAs through meat consumption increases the risk factor for cancers. The objective of this study was to estimate the amount of HCAs in some commonly consumed ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products in the U.S., including hot dogs, deli meat products, pepperoni, fully-cooked bacon, and rotisserie chicken. Our results indicated that the level of HCAs in RTE meat products are generally low, but some items may contain elevated amounts, e.g. rotisserie chicken. Taken together, our results show that cooking conditions and ingredients influence the levels of HCA in the RTE meat products. Acquired results on HCA contents of RTE meat products can be used along with dietary assessments to estimate human exposure to HCAs.

Hazard Control

Home-style dehydrators commonly used by consumers to dry meat products have limited humidity (RH) and temperature control. Home-style dehydrators do not provide adequate lethality to reduce Salmonella on whole muscle chicken when chamber temperatures were below 62.2ºC with a peak RH of 31% followed by a RH level of less than 16% for the remainder of drying process.

The antimicrobial effectiveness of benozoic acid and selected phenolic compounds (gallic acid, vanillic acid, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin) present in plum and persimmon fruit on the pathogens Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Bacillus cereus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus was evaluated. Quercetin, vanillic, and chlorogenic acids were effective against selected pathogens at various levels, but were not as potent as benzoic or gallic acids. Results indicated that benzoic acid was the most effective against E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhirumum and B. cereus at concentrations of 452.98, 239.63 and 518.79 μg/ml, respectively. Gallic acid was the most effective against Y. enterocolitica, L. monocytogenes, and S. aureus at concentrations of 11.01, 29.06 and 22.45 μg/ml, respectively. Phenolics found in the plum and persimmon fruit have antimicrobial properties and may offer a more natural approach to food safety.

Persimmon pure was added at 1, 3, 5, and 10% wt./vol, concentrations to Brain Heart Infusion Broth and inoculated with BioballTM Listeria monocytogenes and BioballTM Escherichia coli O157. Microbial growth was evaluated at 0, 24, 36, and 72 h. Results indicated that at 24 hours, persimmon puree at all concentrations suppressed (P<0.05) growth of L. monocytogenes compared to the control. Suppressed (P<0.05) growth of L. monocytogenes continued through 36 and 72 hours for all concentrations of persimmon puree tested. Alternatively, no significant (P<0.05) values were observed for E. coli O157.

A preliminary study was conducted which involved sampling different meat cuts before and after treatment with advanced oxidation technology, prior to processing. Samples were analyzed for total aerobic bacteria, total coliforms and generic E.coli counts. Different meat cuts including flanks, tritips, brisket, ribeyes, tenderloins, eye of rounds, and chuck pot roast were taken. An average of approx. 1.5 Log CFU/meat cut reduction in bacterial counts was seen after a 45 s treatment in advanced oxidation chamber equipped with ultraviolet light (UV).

Policy and Trade

Policy studies have found that consumers are concerned about cloning with those concerns based on both uncertainty about product safety and on the moral acceptability of the process. Students in France and Ireland are significantly less likely to consume cloned products compared to students at Kansas State. At K-State, students in the Sociology and English classes are less likely to consume cloned products compared to Ag Econ students. Informing respondents about the FDA/EFSA opinions on the safety of cloned products increased the stated likelihood of consuming cloned product. Subsequently reducing the price of cloned product also increased likelihood of purchase, but by a very small amount. For students in Kansas and Ireland, concern about food safety was the most frequently cited reason for discomfort with cloning. For French students, the most frequently cited reason was that animal cloning was morally wrong.

The Food Safety Consortium, by strategically integrating the appropriate disciplines, can paint truer pictures of today’s food safety challenges and solutions. Indeed, food safety researchers should consider multiple academic disciplines when performing their work. The Frontier program seeks to help accomplish this important multidisciplinary task. By blending insights from the fields of Food and Agricultural Security, Border Security, International Relations, as well as the Behavioral Sciences, Frontier uniquely contributes to the Consortium’s research and outreach programs regarding food safety. Policy-analysis, historical studies, and multidisciplinary-synthesis research has appeared in a variety of formats during the last year. Publications summarizing this extensive research are listed in the publications section.


Kansas State University, Purdue University and Indiana University collaborated to develop a food safety and defense curriculum for graduate students and working professionals. A panel of 13 stakeholders with expertise in food safety, food defense and public health participated in a DACUM (Developing A CurriculUM) process that identified 210 knowledge domains for food defense professionals.  A survey validated the DACUM results with 297 professionals participating.  Survey participants ranked Food and Agricultural Systems, Food Safety and Defense, Communication, Threats to Food and Agriculture, and a Capstone Experience as key curriculum topics.  Information from the DACUM process and survey were used to develop curriculum modules for a two-day workshop along with a one-day computer simulation/capstone experience.

Fourteen modules were developed and presented by professors from all three universities and working professionals with expertise in each topic area. Each module contained learning objectives, a set of notes, exam questions, and a recorded audio/video lecture (captured prior to and during workshop) for use in distance education.  Workshop participants (food defense stakeholders, graduate students, and working professionals – 41 total) evaluated the modules for content and value of the presentation. Participants rated module learning objectives as being met and presentation value as well as the overall quality of the workshop.  

Overall, the participants indicated the quality of the workshop was “very good to excellent” on a five-point Likert scale and they unanimously said they would recommend the workshop to others.  Participants also interacted with a computer simulation which showed the importance of food defense education.  Collaborators have revised modules, added supplemental material and more exam questions, and are offering the two-day workshop modules in a distance education course taught at K-State and Purdue for graduate students and working professionals. 

Food Safety Consortium research results have been incorporated into training/educational-mediated formats. Food safety and security educational materials, in mediated formats that can be accessed by traditional on-campus students, distance education students, and industry and governmental personnel requiring specific food safety training include:

• Fundamentals of Food Processing
• Applied Microbiology for Meat and Poultry Processors
• Microbiology of Food
• Fermented Foods
• Food Chemistry/Advanced Food Chemistry
• Principles of HACCP
• A Multidisciplinary Overview of Food Safety and Security
• Essential Concepts of Food Protection and Defense
• Trade and Agricultural Health
• Topics of Food Safety Risk Analysis
• Quality Assurance of Food Products.

Other initiatives incorporating Food Safety Consortium research include:

• Graduate Certificate in Food Safety and Defense
• Master of Public Health – Food Safety Emphasis Area
• Development of a National Educational and Outreach Program for Food Safety and Defense

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