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An innovative approach to shield against foodborne illness

Feb. 12, 2024

Story by Eric Stann

A shopper chooses chicken in a shop
One in every 25 packages of chicken found on store shelves is contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Because chicken is a major source of illnesses from salmonella, the researchers decided to begin their efforts by focusing on helping the poultry industry. Source: Adobe Stock

Like a silent saboteur, foodborne pathogens can sneak up and ruin your next meal. One of the biggest culprits is salmonella, a type of bacteria found in many foods that causes more than 1.3 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Despite nationwide efforts, salmonella’s infection rates have remained nearly unchanged for the past 30 years. Now, MU is part of an interdisciplinary effort determined to change that after recently receiving a three-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator program.

The 19-member team of investigators — including Kate Trout, an assistant professor with the Department of Health Sciences — is developing new technology to rapidly detect and mitigate salmonella and other foodborne pathogens throughout the entire poultry supply chain.

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Kate Trout

Kate Trout

Assistant Professor