Despite advances in food technologies, foodborne illnesses in food still cause an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Foodborne illnesses from Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and Listeria are significant health problems. Bioterrorism also poses a threat to the nation’s food supply as well as homeland security.
Food microbiology and safety are key areas in food science, focusing on the minimization of potential hazards in food. The f ood microbiology and safety program at CAENS enhances food safety by a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach that integrates research, teaching and outreach.
Currently, the Food Microbiology and Safety Laboratory is exploring several cutting-edge areas in food safety: 1) the efficacy of natural antimicrobials in innovative edible biofilms against foodborne pathogenic bacteria, 2) isolation and identification of natural antimicrobial agents in foods such as muscadine grapes, and 3) implementation and establishment of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program for beverage products.