U.S.D.A. launches food safety web site

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — The Agricultural Research Service (A.R.S.) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a web portal featuring predictive microbiology modeling software designed to assist food processors in their food safety decision-making process.

The P.M.I.P. currently features information on research, regulations and resources related to Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods. In the coming months, it will be expanded to include other pathogen and food combinations. A searchable database allows users to find information that also may be used to develop hazard analysis and critical control point plans to ensure the safety of food processes.

"Scientists, food safety risk managers, researchers and government decision-makers can use this access to predictive modeling tools and food microbiology information," said Edward B. Knipling, administrator of the A.R.S. "The portal is geared toward small and very small processors, but the information it contains will benefit companies of all sizes."

The web site also includes a tutorial section with instructions on using and interpreting predictive models and links users directly to the A.R.S. Pathogen Modeling Program and ComBase. The Pathogen Modeling Program is a tool used by food processing companies around the world. ComBase is an international relational database of predictive microbiology information that contains more than 30,000 datasets describing the growth, survival and inactivation of bacteria under diverse environments relevant to food processing operations.

The P.M.I.P. was developed by A.R.S. scientists at its Wyndmoor, Pa., facility working with colleagues at the U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Rutgers University and Decisionalysis Risk Consultants, Inc., in Canada.

It may be accessed by clicking here or by visiting www.ars.usda.gov/naa/errc/mfsru/portal.

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