Pathogens can survive in dry food for at least six months

imagesA new study, published by the University of Georgia in the Journal of Food Protection, has determined that food pathogens, like salmonella, survive for at least six months in cookies and crackers.

“There have been an increased number of outbreaks of diseases associated with of contaminated dry foods. We wouldn’t expect salmonella to grow in foods that have a very dry environment,” said Larry Beuchat, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and researcher in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who works with the Center for Food Safety on the UGA campus in Griffin.

The researchers used five different types of salmonella isolated from food in previous foodborne outbreaks and put the salmonella into four types of fillings found in cookies or crackers and placed them into storage.

The determined how long each type of salmonella was able to survive in each filling.

“The salmonella didn’t survive as well in the cracker sandwiches as it did in the cookie sandwiches,” Beuchat said.

In some cases, the pathogen was able to survive for at least to six months in the sandwiches.”The next steps would be to test all ingredients that are used in these foods,” Beuchat said. If there is a possibility that foodborne pathogens are present in specific ingredients, then the next step would be to stop the use of those ingredients.


Larry R. Beuchat, David A. Mann. Survival of Salmonella in Cookie and Cracker Sandwiches Containing Inoculated, Low–Water Activity Fillings. Journal of Food Protection, 2015; 78 (10): 1828 DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-142

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