CEMMI—The Center of Excellence in Microbial Modeling and Informatics:
Predictive models of microorganisms in food!

For more than 15 years, the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania has excelled in the discipline of predictive microbiology—the development of mathematical models for foodborne bacterial pathogens. These models predict the effects of various intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can affect the growth, survival and inactivation of both pathogenic and spoilage organisms. And now they are available on the Web through the ERRC’s Center of Excellence in Microbial Modeling and Informatics (www.arserrc.gov/cemmi/).

The Center of Excellence in Microbial Modeling and Informatics (CEMMI) is a “virtual laboratory” designed to facilitate research cooperation among scientists studying how pathogenic bacteria behave in food under varying environmental conditions. Their intention is to network the expertise of ERRC and other laboratories to researchers, and to link industry with model designers for solutions to current food safety and quality problems.

According to the Web site, CEMMI’s programmatic goals include “working with users of predictive microbiology to enhance model development, application and interpretation, enhancing uniformity in experimental designs, extending model data (informatics) through a ‘data warehouse’ function (ComBase), communicating information through symposia, workshops and the Internet, and defining researchable data gaps.”

Ambitious, to be sure. But judging from the site’s initial roll-out, CEMMI is right on target.

Microbiological Testing Data Now Available Online through FSIS

Ten years of prevalence data for Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcal enterotoxins is now available on the FSIS Web site at fsis.usda.gov (www.fsis.usda.gov/ophs/rtetest/index.htm). The data was collected from food processing plants chosen at random between 1990 and 1999, and is available for perusal in the FSIS electronic reading room.

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