Research Paper


Evaluation of the GENE-UP® Salmonella 2 Assay for Detecting Salmonella in Ground Beef: An AOAC OMA Collaborative Study

( N. J. Taylor )

Salmonella causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of foodborne illness and over 400 deaths every year in the United States alone. As a result, the USDA-FSIS have recently proposed the tightening of the performance standards in identifying Salmonella spp. in ground beef and beef trimmings. It is critical, therefore, that the most robust and accurate analytical methods are available to detect low levels of Salmonella spp. The objective of this study was to statistically compare the method performance of the candidate method, GENE-UP Salmonella 2, against the reference method, USDA FSIS MLG 4.01. Results from this multi-laboratory collaborative study indicated that the GENE-UP Salmonella 2 method is a robust Real-time PCR method for the rapid detection of Salmonella spp. in raw ground beef. An Expert Review Panel formed within the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) granted Official Methods of Analysis℠ (OMA) First Action status to the GENE-UP Salmonella 2 assay (OMA certification number 2020.02). This designation will have a significant effect on increased market acceptance and integration of the method into routine use for beef producers.

NOTE: This study has been published in in the Journal of AOAC International and can be viewed by following this link:

An Examination of Social Media Utilization During Food Safety Risk Events

( K. Murdock )

The distribution of food safety risk information has entered a new chapter with the emergence of various social media platforms which allow faster dissemination of information in crisis scenarios. However, identifying the most effective means of virtual correspondence can become problematic due to limited research on consumer preference towards message delivery formats during food safety risk events. This study examined the most frequently accessed social media outlets used by the public for knowledge on food hazard reports. A web-based survey tool was used to collect data from 165 respondents regarding their preferences for learning about various food safety risk events along with the reasons for their choices. Overall, Facebook was the most preferred social media outlet to receive food safety risk information mainly because of its ease of use and familiarity, while the FDA had the most popular website because of its trustworthiness. In addition, middle class Americans were more likely to utilize social media networks to research food safety concerns as compared to those in lower and higher income brackets. The investigative results established by this research project will help industry leaders focus their online response efforts during food safety crisis events in order to convey information in the most effective manner.

Assessment of Sanitation Practices for the Control of Listeria monocytogenes at Small and Very Small Ready-To-Eat Meat and Poultry Processors

( S. E. Fate )

Listeria's ubiquitous nature and resilience allow it to remain and multiply in food processing facilities for years creating challenges, particularly for the ready-to-eat (RTE) food industry. Large processing operations often have the capital to execute many of the FDA and USDA best sanitation practices for controlling Listeria; however, financial and structural limitations preclude small and very small RTE processors from fully embracing these guidelines past a minimum implementation. Although there are numerous studies detailing guidance on controlling Listeria in food processing plants, there is little research on small and very small RTE meat and poultry processors that align sanitation practices for controlling Listeria with their current abilities. Therefore, this study's objective was to assess the extent of recommended sanitary control methods used by eight small and very small RTE processors in Michigan. The results indicate that the prevalence of Listeria can be reduced in small and very small RTE meat and poultry processing facilities while staying within their financial and structural limitations.