Microwave Pasteurization

Project Objectives

The goal of the proposed integrated project is to enhance the microbiological food safety of pre-packaged foods and ready-to-eat (RTE) meals through development and adaptation of industrial microwave (MW) technologies as a reliable last defense (terminal step) against process-associated and post-process contamination to protect consumers from food-borne pathogens. Project objectives are:

  1. Determine thermal responses of selected food pathogens, including human norovirus, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, or their validated surrogates in selected foods (mussels, deli meats, ground meats, pastas and vegetables) in short time MW heating regimes that maintain food safety and quality
  2. Determine kinetics of food quality changes for short time MW heating regimes
  3. Develop new processes and FDA filing protocols to control Clostridium botulinum spores in non-homogenous foods, and in RTE meals in multi-compartment trays
  4. Develop systems, processes and validation protocols to control vegetative bacterial food pathogens and human noroviruses in prepackaged foods and RTE meals
  5. Conduct accelerated storage and sensory studies to evaluate food quality of MW processed foods and compare with conventional methods
  6. Develop scale-up strategies for sterilization and pasteurization applications and support industrial implementation of these technologies to produce safe and high-quality RTE shelf-stable, refrigerated, and frozen meals
  7. Develop statistical tools to assess the safety of MW processes in support of regulatory measures to protect public health
  8. Transfer technology, disseminate knowledge via short-courses, workshops, websites, and demonstration projects with industrial partners and in partner facilities; provide on-site training for graduate students and industrial personnel
  9. Prepare graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to become future leaders in academia, industry and government for emerging food safety technologies. Provide opportunities for undergraduate research.



Updated:May 14, 2012 VSH
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