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Selection of Surrogate Bacteria for Use in Food Safety Challenge Studies: A Review.

J Food Prot; 80(9): 1506-1536, 2017 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28805457
Nonpathogenic surrogate bacteria are prevalently used in a variety of food challenge studies in place of foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Clostridium botulinum because of safety and sanitary concerns. Surrogate bacteria should have growth characteristics and/or inactivation kinetics similar to those of target pathogens under given conditions in challenge studies. It is of great importance to carefully select and validate potential surrogate bacteria when verifying microbial inactivation processes. A validated surrogate responds similar to the targeted pathogen when tested for inactivation kinetics, growth parameters, or survivability under given conditions in agreement with appropriate statistical analyses. However, a considerable number of food studies involving putative surrogate bacteria lack convincing validation sources or adequate validation processes. Most of the validation information for surrogates in these studies is anecdotal and has been collected from previous publications but may not be sufficient for given conditions in the study at hand. This review is limited to an overview of select studies and discussion of the general criteria and approaches for selecting potential surrogate bacteria under given conditions. The review also includes a list of documented bacterial pathogen surrogates and their corresponding food products and treatments to provide guidance for future studies.