Food Safety and Security

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

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 botulinumSalmonella 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 National Capability 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.

The Food Safety Centre

More information regarding this area of research can be found on the The Food Safety Centre website

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