ABSTRACT

A Salmonella outbreak in 2007 affected at least 625 people in 47 states.  As a result of this outbreak a number of initiatives were undertaken by the peanut industry.  Review of scientific literature found very little data on the prevalence or thermal inactivation of Salmonella.  Additional outbreaks reinforced the need for more data.  Research was commissioned by the American Peanut Council (APC) to provide processors information needed in mitigating the risk of Salmonella in raw peanuts.  Studies were completed to provide prevalence, concentration, and time/temperature conditions to thermally inactivate Salmonella present.  Subsequently, a quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA) was performed and published.  These studies and QMRA were reviewed with their results used to suggest potential risk management practices. When considering risk management both actual baseline results and what-if data for factors were explored.   Prevalence and concentration of Salmonella is best controlled with established Good Agricultural Practices that can be recommended by processors to suppliers.  Storage was shown to significantly reduce Salmonella levels, however there is limited opportunity for control due to quality requirements that are dependent on shelf-life.  Blanching was shown to only minimally reduce Salmonella levels.  Lower consumption of raw peanuts reduced risk moderately.  Higher log reductions through roasting was shown to effectively reduce risk, potentially more so for split peanuts.  This article reviews the research studies commissioned by the American Peanut Council and related quantitative microbiological risk assessments and factors for decision making that risk managers at peanut and peanut product processing facilities should consider for hazard control measures.

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