Latest headlines

UMass team receives USDA grant to improve food safety

UMass team receives USDA grant to improve food safetyThe USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture issued a grant to a research team at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to improve food safety by developing faster methods for detecting and separating microbial contamination from food.

The team, led by food scientist Sam Nugen, received nearly $500,000 for the project.

According to the university, Nugen and his team are designing techniques to help food manufacturers cut down on the time it takes to perform safety tests before products can be sold. The university says this is especially significant since aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act may shift the way FDA focuses on food contamination by engaging more preventative measures.

"The current method of testing a batch of chocolate pudding, for example, means collecting a sample, sending it to a lab where a broth is prepared and any bacteria found are plated and grown,” says Nugen. “It can take several days to a week before they're identified. Meanwhile, the company has to warehouse its pudding during the testing period. We're working on separating bacteria from a food sample much more quickly, in minutes, so technologies that already exist for testing a clean sample can be used. It should break the bottleneck in the system and save considerable time and expense."

Nugen said techniques like this will help products like fruit which have a tight timeline on freshness and cannot be held for tests which will cost time and money.

To remove bacteria from liquids, the team designed beads made of magnetically charged cobalt nanoparticles that were paired with viruses used to attract specific bacteria. The beads are then removed from the liquid with a magnet.

The methods have been shown to work in liquids not related to food and the grant will now allow them to proceed with actual food samples.The team is working on a method to detect disease causing microbes in dry food as well.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Jeremy Gerrard

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2015

Mars Chocolate was chosen as Food Engineering’s 2015 Plant of the Year. The first new Mars candy plant in North America in 35 years is not only LEED Gold certified, it’s highly automated as well.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering April 2015 Cover

2015 April

The April 2014 issue of Food Engineering features the Plant of the Year: Mars Chocolate. The first new Mars chocolate candy plant in North America in 35 years is not only LEED Gold certified, it’s highly automated as well.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.