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 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 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.
Botulism’s genetic triggers found
IFR scientists have discovered genes that are crucial for germination in the foodborne bacteria Clostridium botulinum.more +
New insights into botulism toxin
A recent study led by IFR has uncovered newinformation about the genes Clostridium botulinum uses to produce its toxin.more +
Cutting sugar intake
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has today published its draft report on Carbohydrates and Health. Public Health England ... more +
Optimising mushroom spawn production in Uganda
Scientists at the Institute of Food Research are helping in the expansion and diversification of mushroom cultivation in Uganda.more +
The Food Safety Centre
More information regarding this area of research can be found on the The Food Safety Centre websitemore +