Food Safety: Seafood Processing
Research and extension efforts combine to ensure the safety and quality of seafood that is available for sale to consumers. The Maryland seafood industry is composed of numerous small companies that lack dedicated departments for food safety and regulatory compliance. In response to increases in regulatory oversight as well as to heightened customer expectations, seafood processors asked UMES for assistance.
Applied research projects funded by USDA and Sea Grant were conducted in processing plants. Potential reservoirs for pathogenic bacteria and alternative control strategies were evaluated. Training programs were developed and conducted to help companies implement those controls shown to be effective.
Significant improvements in the microbiological status of products and plant environments have been documented. The incidence of Listeria monocytogenes in crab processing facilities has declined dramatically since the late 1990's. For participating firms, no positive sample was identified in 2005 for this pathogenic organism.
A new project is designed to test crab meat products and the processing environment for Listeria monocytogenes, characterize the isolates using microbial and molecular techniques and develop predictive models which will help to better understand the behavior of L. monocytogenes related to crab meat processing and handling.
Funding: USDA, MD Sea Grant
Contact: Mr. Thomas Rippen, email@example.com