Enhancement of quality, shelf life and microbiological safety of spices
This project is based on establishing process validation procedures for the current thermal (steam) and chemical (ethylene oxide treatment) sterilization processes used for the handling of spices, herbs and dried vegetables at the Cell Foods facility located in Dorval, Quebec. Validation of their current processes will ensure the required pathogen destruction for the spice foods processed at the plant. Salmonella is most commonly known pathogen related to the microbial outbreaks blamed to have involved spices. Handling of Salmonella requires level-II lab facility. Our objective is to use a commonly used surrogate of Salmonella such as E. coli-K12 which can be handled in level-I non pathogenic lab (like the current microbial facility at Cell Foods). Inactivation kinetics data on the surrogate will be gathered under practical conditions in the plant facility and used for process establishment while Salmonella negativity will be assessed using commercial Salmonella testing kits for confirmatory purposes.