Food Safety Centre
The food chain needs to supply safe, nutritious food to an ever-increasing world population whilst addressing unacceptable levels of human illness across the globe caused by bacterial foodborne pathogens.
Lead scientist: Mike Peck
Visit the Food Safety Centre website
At the IFR we investigate how bacteria adapt to survive and multiply in the food chain and how they evade our defences to cause disease.
We focus on the three major foodborne bacterial pathogens of the greatest concern in the UK: Salmonella, Campylobacter and Clostridium botulinum. Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria are major causes of food poisoning in the UK and worldwide. C. botulinum is responsible for botulism, a severe and deadly disease, and hence a major concern for the food industry.
We provide microbiological food safety solutions for industry, for example on extending shelf life, whilst conducting leading edge fundamental research on the biology of foodborne pathogenic bacteria.
Our science combines microbiology, molecular biology, mathematics, and increasingly includes high-throughput genome sequencing for molecular epidemiology. Complex data sets are analysed using systems biology and network analysis methods to better understand increasingly large amounts of data on foodborne bacteria and food safety.
Microbiological data curated in the ComBase system helps ensure new food formulations are safe. The aim of this research is to prevent disease by minimising the risks posed by foodborne pathogens throughout the food supply chain.
Microevolution key to Salmonella’s success
A new study has shown how Salmonella rapidly “microevolves” during an epidemic, highlighting how whole genome sequencing is important in ... more +
How probiotic protects against pathogen infection in the gut
A collaborative study by researchers on the Norwich Research Park has indicated how certain probiotic bacteria can help reduce infection ... more +
Discovery of mechanism for transfer of botulinum neurotoxin genes
A new study has shown how Clostridium botulinum could potentially transfer their deadly neurotoxin genes to other bacteria.more +
New research quantifies Clostridium botulinum spores in raw food materials
A new study from the Institute of Food Research has provided information about the likely numbers of spores of Clostridium botulinum ... more +