Tea is often considered as a healthy drink that is rich in antioxidants and other health constituents. However, tea can become contaminated during production and pathogens such as Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) that could potentially can persist over extended storage periods. The true risk of STEC linked to tea is unclear as on one side, the beverage is brewed in hot water and although contains natural antimicrobials. However, on the other hand, STEC can become heat resistant in the dry state that could enable survival during brewing. The proposed study will look at survival of STEC on different tea blends and the ultimate fate of the pathogen during brewing. The research will benefit the collaborating partner through identification of the risk and possible solutions. The Intern will benefit by working on a commercially relevant project given how much tea is drank every day in Canada.
Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc.
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