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Research Call

DAFM Reference

Lead(Collaborating)Institution

DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11F008 Teagasc (UCC, UL, NUIG, UCD) €1,278,307

Project Title:

Translating fundamental research on Listeria monocytogenes for the benefit of a multi-sectoral ready-to-eat food industry

Project Coordinator:

Dr. Kieran Jordan

Project Abstract

The agri-food industry in Ireland is worth €24 billion to the Irish economy and the ready-to-eat (RTE) food sector (which frequently covers the farm-to-fork continuum) represents a substantial proportion of this market. The single biggest challenge for this sector is to maintain its reputation for high quality and safety. Listeria monocytogenes is a particular risk for the RTE food sector because it is extraordinarily well adapted to the harsh conditions employed for food preservation. Not alone does Listeria contamination pose a significant public health threat in terms of its high mortality rate, but there are also enormous actual and potential economic consequences for food businesses. In medicine, the concept of translational research is well established, where fundamental researchers convert their findings into practical healthcare solutions. In this project, we will design a translational research programme which will harness existing research capabilities to address the issue of Listeria contamination in RTE food processing facilities and apply the outputs to benefit the industry. The project will coordinate the collection and analysis of contaminating Listeria strains from 4 RTE food areas in Ireland; meat, dairy, fish and fresh cut vegetables. It will identify the sources of contamination and assess strain persistence in foods and food processing plants. It will establish protocols for establishing the risk of Listeria growth/survival within specific food groups and the disease potential associated with strains. Significantly, the project will develop innovative strategies for controlling the growth and survival of this pathogen. In summary, the project is aimed at minimising the potential risk Listeria poses to the RTE food industry and the Irish food supply chain.

Final Report:

Not available yet.