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Electron-beam pasteurization of raw oysters may reduce viral food poisoning
Date:4/30/2013

COLLEGE STATION According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in six Americans gets food poisoning each year. Additionally, virus infection risks from consumption of raw oysters in the U.S. are estimated to cost around $200 million a year.

To address the issue of health risk from eating raw oysters, Texas A&M University graduate student Chandni Praveen, along with Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist Dr. Suresh Pillai and a team of researchers from other agencies and institutions, studied how electron-beam pasteurization of raw oysters may reduce the possibility of food poisoning through virus.

Other entities involved in the study included the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and University of Texas School of Public Health-El Paso regional campus.

The results of this study will be published in the June issue of the leading microbiology journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

"The study was performed using a human norovirus surrogate called murine norovirus (NoV), and a hepatitis A (HAV) virus along with advanced quantitative microbial risk assessment tools," explained Pillai, professor of microbiology and director of the National Center for Electron Beam Research at Texas A&M University. "A salient feature of e-beam pasteurization technology is that it uses commercial electricity to generate the ionizing radiation that inactivates the viruses. It is a green technology because no chemicals are involved."

Pillai said the FDA already has approved the use of electron beam technology as a pathogen intervention strategy to control the naturally occurring Vibrio vulnificus bacterial pathogen in shellfish.

According to the FDA, raw oysters contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus can be life threatening or even fatal when eaten by someone with liver disease, diabetes or a weakened immune system.

"We're all for any means of technology that enhanc
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Contact: Dr. Suresh Pillai
s-pillai@tamu.edu
979-458-1640
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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