U.S – A multidisciplinary research team, comprised of experts from the University of Missouri (MU), the University of Notre Dame, and Lincoln University, is spearheading efforts to develop innovative technology capable of swiftly detecting and controlling Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens within the poultry supply chain.

The initiative has received a substantial boost from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), with a U.S$5 million grant from the Convergence Accelerator Program.

Under the leadership of Dr. Mahmoud Almasri, Associate Professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MU, the 19-member team brings together diverse expertise spanning engineering, poultry and food science, public health, and supply chain management.

This collaborative approach aims to address the multifaceted challenges associated with food safety across the poultry industry.

Rapid detection technology

At the heart of the project lies a sensor-based technology designed to expedite pathogen testing processes.

Unlike conventional methods, which typically require at least 24 hours to yield results, the team’s solution boasts the capability to deliver outcomes in one hour or less.

By harnessing real-time data from portable sensors and integrating it into a cutting-edge decision support system (SENS-D), the researchers aim to revolutionize the industry’s approach to food safety.

The implications of this technology extend beyond mere efficiency gains, particularly in light of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) concerted efforts to combat salmonellosis in poultry products.

Proposed regulatory changes, including designating Salmonella as an adulterant in certain chicken products, underscore the urgency of innovative solutions capable of enhancing food safety standards.

The research team envisions broader applications for their technology beyond Salmonella detection, with plans to explore its efficacy in addressing other foodborne pathogens.

While the sensors are still undergoing prototype development, the researchers are actively engaged in workforce education and training initiatives through MU Extension, aiming to facilitate seamless integration of the technology into industry practices.

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