Understanding the safe shelf life of foods using advanced microbial profiling
Recent work using advanced microbial profiling (AMP) has shown that our knowledge of the progression of microflora during shelf life of certain products is incomplete. AMP offers a way to confirm existing specifications, or to amend them. AMP also offers an opportunity to verify that a reduction in viable counts of selected pathogens are caused by competitive inhibition from the product’s microflora. This project will revaluate microbial specifications for a range of chilled products and analyse the effect that naturally occurring microflora has on the growth of pathogenic microflora. This will allow specifications to be set for only those organisms of concern, potentially extending shelf life. Indication of the effects that spoilage flora have on pathogens will give producers more confidence in the ability of their products to remain safe should contamination occur.