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Microbial Forensics in Food Safety

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  • Author: Marie Yeung1
  • Editors: Raúl J. Cano2, Gary A. Toranzos3
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Biological Sciences Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; 2: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA; 3: University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Source: microbiolspec August 2016 vol. 4 no. 4 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0002-2013
  • Received 18 November 2013 Accepted 16 September 2014 Published 12 August 2016
  • Marie Yeung, pmyeung@calpoly.edu
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  • Abstract:

    Foodborne diseases represent a significant public health burden to the United States, considering that they cause illness in 1 in 6 people annually, which amounts to ∼48 million people (E. Scallan, R. M. Hoekstra, F. J. Angulo, R. V. Tauxe, M. A. Widdowson, S. L. Roy, J. L. Jones, and P. M. Griffin, 17:7–15, 2011). The average national cost of illness associated with 30 foodborne pathogens is estimated to be $55.5 to $93.2 billion based on two cost-of-illness models (R.L. Scharff, 78:1064–1071, 2015). Predominately, foodborne illnesses are the result of accidental contamination or unintentional mishandling of food materials during the farm-to-table continuum. Nevertheless, principles and methodologies derived from microbial forensics are applied in foodborne outbreaks investigation to determine the source of the pathogen. Drawing from multiple real-life examples and case studies, this review discusses how the current food industry practice, demography, and consumer preference are shaping the landscape of food safety. The approaches to source tracking, or traceback, are described, with a focus on bacterial pathogens associated with food-producing animals. Current challenges and opportunities in microbial forensics in food safety are also addressed.

  • Citation: Yeung M. 2016. Microbial Forensics in Food Safety. Microbiol Spectrum 4(4):EMF-0002-2013. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0002-2013.

Key Concept Ranking

Food Safety
0.54095554
Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism
0.48177472
Foodborne Illnesses
0.43736115
0.54095554

References

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2016-08-12
2017-11-19

Abstract:

Foodborne diseases represent a significant public health burden to the United States, considering that they cause illness in 1 in 6 people annually, which amounts to ∼48 million people (E. Scallan, R. M. Hoekstra, F. J. Angulo, R. V. Tauxe, M. A. Widdowson, S. L. Roy, J. L. Jones, and P. M. Griffin, 17:7–15, 2011). The average national cost of illness associated with 30 foodborne pathogens is estimated to be $55.5 to $93.2 billion based on two cost-of-illness models (R.L. Scharff, 78:1064–1071, 2015). Predominately, foodborne illnesses are the result of accidental contamination or unintentional mishandling of food materials during the farm-to-table continuum. Nevertheless, principles and methodologies derived from microbial forensics are applied in foodborne outbreaks investigation to determine the source of the pathogen. Drawing from multiple real-life examples and case studies, this review discusses how the current food industry practice, demography, and consumer preference are shaping the landscape of food safety. The approaches to source tracking, or traceback, are described, with a focus on bacterial pathogens associated with food-producing animals. Current challenges and opportunities in microbial forensics in food safety are also addressed.

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