Breaking News on Food Safety & Quality Control

News > R&D

Cracked? Preventing Salmonella in nuts focus for research

The research will tackle the problem in foods such as nuts
The research will tackle the problem in foods such as nuts

Michigan State University (MSU) has been awarded almost $400,000 by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reduce the Salmonella risk of low-moisture foods.

MSU researcher Sanghyup Jeong was awarded $380,000 to tackle the problem in foods such as nuts, which is becoming increasingly common.

Typically illness is contracted when people eat raw or undercooked foods such as contaminated egg, poultry, meat or unpasteurized dairy products, or contaminated raw fruits, vegetables and spices.

Understanding the problem

“This research project will deliver a robust tool and approach for understanding dry particle food flow and microbiological contamination by bacteria in dry nuts,” said Jeong, an assistant professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

“This should lead to future applications with other low-moisture food products and nanoparticle contaminants.”

Jeong said Salmonella outbreaks have been caused by bacteria in low-moisture foods such as grains, almonds, wheat flour, soy and black pepper.

“In 2000 and 2003, there were two outbreaks of Salmonellosis in California almonds, which prompted a recall of 13 million pounds of raw almonds in 2004,” he said.

“Given the potential for similar problems to occur in the almond industry, we must understand the cross-contamination process when developing intervention strategies to prevent future outbreaks.

“This will be possible via the discrete element method, a tool to investigate the characteristics of solid or soft grain interactions and flow from microscopic to macroscopic levels.”

Eight grants from NIFA

The grant is one of eight awarded to the MSU CANR by the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and administered through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

They total $3.9m and focus on helping Michigan farmers manage extreme weather conditions and tackle food safety issues, and help small and medium-sized farms compete in an aggressive and competitive marketplace.

One example is Gale Strasburg, professor of food science and human nutrition, using a $975,000 grant to help turkeys better adapt to extreme weather changes that can affect the overall quality of the meat.

Julie Funk, associate professor of large animal and clinical sciences, is looking at reducing foodborne transmission of STEC via a nearly $300,000 grant to study the roles of pigs in transmitting shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, to humans.

Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research, is using genomic tools and almost $300,000 in reducing the number of foodborne outbreaks associated with fresh produce.

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...