Using a common methodology to measure heat resistance of bacteria is crucial, so that the results of different studies can be compared. The International Dairy Federation (IDF) has produced a set of guidelines and considerations in the International Journal of Food Microbiology that will serve as a valuable resource for researchers studying heat resistance.
Even if these guidelines are not compulsory, their implementation would contribute to an improved comparability of published results on heat resistance and to a better reliability of the mathematical quantitative risk assessment models that will be developed in the future. These recommendations will also help to get a better understanding of the variety of factors that need to be considered in heat resistance studies, according to Dr Kieran Jordan and Choreh Farrokh, two experts at the IDF involved in the scientific paper’s development.
A more harmonized testing approach
This paper contains a review of the literature relevant towards establishing such a harmonized protocol, identifies critical issues for establishing internationally agreed protocols, and provides a harmonized framework for reporting and interpretation of heat inactivation studies of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Dr Kieran Jordan also commented that these guidelines are a start and that they will be useful in guiding researchers towards relevant primary factors to consider when undertaking experimental studies to determine the heat resistance of bacteria.
Appropriate risk management
An agreement on harmonized protocols for the measurement of heat resistance of bacteria in milk in the laboratory, and validation at the pilot-plant or industrial-scale level would allow international agreement on appropriate risk management of emerging potential hazards for human and animal health.
Guidelines for experimental design protocol and validation procedure for the measurement of heat resistance of microorganisms in milk, Robin Condron, Choreh Farrokh, Kieran Jordan, Peter McClure, Tom Ross, Olivier Cerf, International Journal of Food Microbiology, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.09.027, published online 8 October 2014.