Posted: August 6th, 2022

Discussion Thread: Creative Application of Laboratory Science; Replies to Peers

I have uploaded two discussion boards threads from my peers. I need a reply for each thread (2 in total). Each reply must be between 200-250 words and must answer:  

  • Do you agree with the suggestions provided? Why or why not? 
  • Do you have any experience with this topic? If so, share your experience with your peers to provide support for their ideas or to help provide other options.

Each reply must incorporate at least 1 scholarly citation(s) in AMA format. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include the textbook, the Bible, peer-reviewed journals, a website.  

Kimberly (peer #1)

TuesdayAug 2 at 6:28pm

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Although the desire of most food industries and consumers is to have food products that are free of any risk of pathogens, it is inevitable that microorganisms are present in most food environments such as in raw products, tools for processing, and even in the employees handling the food products.1 Some microorganisms are beneficial to the health of humans, while others can cause foodborne illnesses and food spoilage.1 The health impact of these foodborne illnesses range to mild symptoms to severe ailments or even death.1   Therefore, it is important that food industries employ methods to protect human health by implementing measures to reduce or eliminate the growth of organisms during the storage of food materials and products, that food industries utilize inactivation treatments  to limit microbial growth during processing, and that a consistent system is in place to verify and validate measures to avoid the transmission of foodborne pathogens.1

One method that is used to assess the risk of foodborne illnesses during food production is the Microbial Risk Assessment (MRA) which is a tool that is based on science methodology and is used to gauge the risk associated with eating food products.1 This method can be utilized during safety inspections to calculate risk and to conduct sensitivity and scenario analyses.1 According to an article discussing the residual risk in food processing and the use of MRA, “For that reason, food industry and regulators increasingly use MRA to evaluate risks and identify control strategies that reduce risk to an acceptable level and use testing as a mean to validate control strategies for their ability to deliver a targeted risk reduction and verify consistent implementation of the validated risk reduction strategies.”1

Along with advancements in monitoring and safety inspection measures, the use of laboratory data is a crucial component to investigating disease outbreaks such as those related to foodborne illnesses.2 The data obtained from laboratory procedures can aid in distinguishing if there is an association between cases that are clustered or if the cause is based on a random event.2 One technique that has helped to identify foodborne illnesses and pinpoint the source of infection is whole genome sequencing (WGS).1 This tool based on molecular biology has been beneficial in detecting outbreak events for larger geographic areas and for extended timeframes.1 This information is able to be disseminated through various technology systems throughout the country and the world to report outbreak findings by organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).1

Ashley (peer #2)

TuesdayAug 2 at 7:23pm

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The laboratory plays an important role in healthcare and public health. It can provider many numerous services for the patient in different scenarios. Laboratory testing is how many diseases or illnesses are diagnosed like strep and flu and but doing blood work we can determine an endless number of other testing’s. The laboratory is such a vital role in public health as well, and it is a tool that we use to determine and prevent foodborne illnesses.

The cooking and storing foods are where we have the most room or error with contamination. When prepping and storing the foods for consummation or distribution, we can sure that if this is done correctly that the risk for foodborne illness is decreased. By ensuring that the food handlers have the correct training and education to ensure that the foods are stored and cooked properly will help prevent foodborne illness in the future.

When an inspector comes in to do an annual inspection, they can incorporate certain things into their inspection. For example, if they know a certain brand of dried fruit just got recall due to contamination and it has already caused multiple people from different states to get sick from it, this can be asked and addressed in an inspection. So, the inspector can say, “did you get the memo that they dried fruit was recalled, and did you dispose of it and where do you keep the stock of your foods so we can look at them”. When doing this, you are educating the person, making sure the foods are disposed of correctly and checking the stock of their foods to ensure that they are being stored correctly and to ensure that there is no more stock in the facility that is expired or to ensure that they were not a part of the recall.

We can use laboratory data as a prevention measure to help enhance the investigation of a disease outbreak by keeping record of what foods were contaminated and how it was contaminated if that is known. Data from laboratories are critical for investigating infectious disease outbreaks. By law, most states require laboratories that identify causative agents of notifiable diseases to send case information electronically to state public health agencies1. In addition, most states require laboratories to send cultures to the public health laboratory in their jurisdiction for confirmation, subtyping, and cataloging results in state and national databases1. These data are invaluable for determining whether an apparent cluster of cases might be linked and require further investigation or caused by a random clustering of events1.

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