Food Microbiology and Food Safety
K-State's food microbiology program addresses issues with quality and safety of food products from farm-to-fork. Pre-harvest research at the farm level improves the microbial status of final products. Processing technologies such as irradiation, thermal treatments, chemical washing, and Steam Pasteurization are investigated for food decontamination purposes. These developments are transferred to the food industry and their performances verified by K-State food safety researchers.
K-State is internationally recognized for its development of rapid and automated microbial detection systems and training programs. Students gain practical training in concepts such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs and risk assessment/management that prepare them for careers in the industry.
A Biosafety Level 2 pilot processing facility is available to conduct pathogen inoculated food processing studies. The facility is refrigerated and is equipped with pilot processing equipment including:
- meat grinders
- pathogen inoculation containment cabinet
- steam pasteurization equipment
- charbroiling grill
- blade tenderization unit
- walk-in coolers
- upright refrigerators/freezers
- vacuum/modified atmosphere package equipment
- state-of-the-art smokehouse and drying room
A National Instruments LabView® data acquisition system provides for accurate and continuous temperature and pH monitoring of products up to 36 channels during these studies.
A Biosafety Level 2 aseptic processing lab includes a custom designed post-process pasteurization system for conducting pathogen studies on ready-to-eat food products such as hot dogs.