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Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2018 Mar 25;9:177-208. doi: 10.1146/annurev-food-030117-012304. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Methods for the Control of Foodborne Pathogens in Low-Moisture Foods.

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Department of Food Science, Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada; email:
Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of Technology, Bedford Park, Illinois 60501, USA.


Low-moisture foods (LMFs) have been defined as those food products with a water activity (aw) less than 0.85 and are generally considered less susceptible to microbial spoilage and the growth of foodborne pathogens. However, in recent years, outbreaks linked to LMFs have increased, with Salmonella spp., Bacillus cereus, Cronobacter sakazakii, Clostridium spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, non-O157 E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus being the principal pathogens involved. Because of the new concerns raised as a result of recent outbreaks, new approaches need to be developed to control foodborne pathogens in LMFs. This review summarizes the recent research on novel inactivation methods suitable for use on LMFs. Among the methods discussed are the nonthermal inactivation methods as well as other novel methods such as radio-frequency and microwave heating. Additional research is needed to evaluate older technologies and develop new technologies, either alone or in combination, to understand the mechanisms of inactivation.


dry foods; inactivation methods; low-moisture foods; microbial inactivation; pathogen control

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