S3 Microbial Indicators: They are What You Make of Them

Sunday, July 26, 2015: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM
Oregon Ballroom 202 (Oregon Convention Center)
Primary Contact: Manan Sharma
Organizer: Manan Sharma
Convenor: Manan Sharma
Microbial indicators for the presence of pathogens, fecal contamination, or unsanitary conditions are widely used in almost every facet of food microbiology.  Many of our choices for microbial indicators have come from food testing and processing environments, where it has been appropriate to use traditional indicators like total aerobic plate counts, total coliforms, and Escherichia coli to indicate sanitary conditions, processing controls, and fecal contamination, respectively.  However, as processors and handlers face new challenges with regard to foodborne viruses (norovirus, hepatitis A) and new testing environs (fruit and vegetable growing environments), it may be time consider if traditional indicators are sufficient to indicate the risk of contamination.  This symposium will address how we have come to our current understanding of using microbial indicators, and then delve into the use of specific microbial indicators and what their presence means, and sometimes how these data can be misinterpreted.  This will include the use of Listeria innocua and non-pathogenic E. coli to indicate the presence of L. monocytogenes and Shiga-toxigenic E. coli (STEC) in processed meats, respectively; the practicality and utility of using total or fecal coliforms to indicate the presence of STEC or fecal contamination in fruit and vegetable growing environments; and finally, the use of novel viral and bacteriophage-indicators to signify the presence of foodborne viruses in various foods.  The symposium will conclude with the emerging use of specific culture-independent techniques to detect fecal contamination in various foods and processing environments, and the European perspective of using Enterobacteriaceae to indicate the presence of Salmonella spp. in foods, which may not have broad consensus among food microbiologists.


10:00 AM
11:30 AM
Panel Discussion'
Manan Sharma, U.S. Department of Agriculture-ARS-EMFSL
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