Oil-based Systems Show Promise for Eradicating Salmonella on Food Production Machinery

Washington, D.C. – Recent outbreaks of food-borne Salmonella have been associated with chocolate and peanut butter. Although Salmonella cannot grow in either of these low-water foods, the cells survive, becoming more resistant to heat treatment, which has contributed to recent outbreaks. New research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology suggests that oil formulations with food-grade organic acids can kill dried Salmonella on stainless steel surfaces.

“Cleaning and sanitation of manufacturing environments are critical for a safe food supply,” said lead author Lynne McLandsborough, Ph.D., a professor of food science at University of Massachusetts Amherst. However, water-based cleaning is rarely used in processing peanut butter, because it promotes microbial growth. “Also, as anyone who has baked peanut butter cookies can tell you, peanut butter and water do not mix, and cleanup with water is challenging,” said McLandsborough.

Instead, manufacturers often remove residual peanut butter from manufacturing systems using heated oil, followed by overnight cooling and application of flammable alcohol-based sanitizing agents.

In the study, McLandsborough and collaborators dried Salmonella

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