Modelling of inactivation through heating for quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA)
This report is funded by EFSA as part of the EU‐FORA programme.
Note: The full opinion will be published in accordance with article 8(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 once the decision on confidentiality, in line with article 18(2) of the Regulation, will be received from the European Commission.
EFSA regards the household as a stage in the food chain that is important for the final number of food‐borne infections. The fate of a pathogen in the private kitchen largely depends on consumer hygiene during preparation of food and on its proper cooking, especially in the case of meat. Unfortunately, detailed information on the microbiological survival in meat products after heating in the consumer kitchen is lacking. The aim of the study was to improve the estimation of the inactivating effect on pathogens by heating meat or a meat product by the consumer in the kitchen. On that account, artificially contaminated meat and meat products were cooked according to several degrees of doneness and simulating real world conditions, and bacterial survival was measured. Heat camera pictures and button temperature loggers inserted into the food matrix served to record time and the temperature of heating. Temperature, time and the microbial survival ratio observed served to inform a mathematical model able to explain the thermal inactivation of meat or a meat product in home settings. The results of the study would help to improve microbiological comparative exposure assessments of pathogens in food, as an attribution tool and as a supportive tool for risk‐based sampling in monitoring and surveillance.