University of Georgia researchers have discovered that Salmonella can survive six months in low-moisture fillings of sandwich cookies and filled cracker snacks. The study was published in an October issue of the Journal of Food Protection.
Study co-authors Larry Beuchat and David Mann of the Center for Food Safety on the UGA campus in Griffin wanted to see how long the foodborne pathogen could survive in dry foods. “There have been an increased number of outbreaks of diseases associated with consumption of contaminated dry foods. We wouldn’t expect salmonella to grow in foods that have a very dry environment,” said Beuchat.
They injected Salmonella into two kinds of fillings for sandwich cookies -chocolate and peanut butter; and two kinds of fillings for cracker snacks- cheese and peanut butter. Then they checked the cookies and snacks at 1, 6, 21, 35, 70, 112, and 182 days and measured the amount of Salmonella each contained. They found Salmonella survived 182 days or six months in all fillings tested.
The researchers say their findings demonstrate a need for manufacturers of such products to test their filling ingredients for pathogens.