Salmonella and Campylobacter outbreaks.

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Managing poultry contamination with software modelling tools

Thursday, 30 January, 2014

Leading Australian poultry company Baiada Poultry plans to integrate a customised version of Battelle’s software modelling program PRIA to help manage the risk of Salmonella and Campylobacter outbreaks.

“A recent Consumer Reports investigation in the US found contamination in 97% of the chicken it tested,” said Brian Hawkins, Battelle research leader.

“Clearly it’s a risk for the companies around the world trying to provide safe products, and to the consumer who wants to eat safe food.”

PRIA - Probabilistic Risk Informed Analysis - is a software and modelling tool that allows food safety and defence professionals to proactively assess the effectiveness of mitigation strategies well before an event occurs.

In developing PRIA, Battelle’s scientists and engineers worked to evaluate planned responses to incidents ranging from biological and chemical attacks in public gatherings to the intentional contamination of a water supply.

PRIA uses powerful mathematical algorithms to perform rapid simulations that take into account all the variables involved in the process, down to the granular level, in order to pinpoint areas of risk.

Baiada Chief Scientific Officer and Regulatory Affairs Manager Anthony Pavic says he believes PRIA is the right tool to improve on current methods. “PRIA will let us move away from spreadsheets and let us perform high-quality assessments that are quicker, more mathematically robust and better documented for regulatory purposes.”

While Baiada’s system is customised to the poultry processing industry, PRIA can be adapted to address other foods with common contamination concerns, such as leafy greens and beef. Battelle says the software tool will enable food companies to align with future regulations calling for risk-based assessments, such as those anticipated in the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA).

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