A comprehensive study investigating the potential health risk of clostridium difficile as a foodborne pathogen

  • Venkitanarayanan, K. K. (PI)
  • Smyth, J. J. (CoPI)
  • Jayarao, Bhushan M. (CoPI)
  • Diez-gonzalez, F. F. (CoPI)
  • Gooden, S. S. (CoPI)
  • Oyarzabal, O. O. (CoPI)
  • Venkitanarayanan, K. K. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Clostridium difficle is a major cause of intestinal disease in humans, and has been isolated from a variety of food animals, including beef, pork and chicken. Further, identical C. difficile strains implicated in human infections have been isolated from food animals and foods, thereby further strengthening the role of food in the transmission of C. difficle to humans. However, no information currently exists on the survival characteristics of C. difficile in foods, or the effect of various food processing methods on C. difficile. Therefore, before C. difficile becomes a major foodborne pathogen, it is important to understand its occurrence in the food supply, identify and develop appropriate control strategies, and spread science-based information to professionals, regulatory agencies and public. This multistate study will determine the 1.Occurrence of C. difficile in ground beef, pork and chicken in retail stores in CT, PA, MN and AL. 2.The characteristics of C. difficile isolated from food and compare them with those of human isolates from the respective states. 3.Effect of chilling, freezing, cooking, salt, and acidity on C. difficile. This study is expected to provide a comprehensive understanding on the mode of transmission, viability characteristics in foods, and susceptibility of C. difficile to the common antimicrobial steps applied in foods. This information is important for developing appropriate control measures before C. difficile emerges as a significant food safety threat.

Effective start/end date1/15/111/14/15


  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: $866,700.00


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