K-State to study COVID-19 control methods in meat processing plants
Key objective will be verifying the effectiveness of many approved cleaners and sanitizers for inactivating SARS-CoV-2 during plant processing and sanitation.
Source: Kansas State University
via National Hog Farmer - Sep 14, 2020
A team of Kansas State University researchers is using a $1 million grant from the USDA, and an additional grant from the state of Kansas, to study how to effectively control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the nation's meat and poultry processing facilities.
The study "Translating SARS-CoV-2 Research Into Practical Solutions For The Meat And Poultry Processing Industry" seeks to protect meat plant workers and their surrounding communities from the spread of COVID-19. It involves researchers from K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture.
As part of the study, $330,000 from the State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Transition Fund will be used for research in K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Roberts Hall. The BRI is a high-containment research facility.
A key objective of the project will be verifying the effectiveness of many of the approved cleaners and sanitizers for inactivating SARS-CoV-2 during plant processing and sanitation operations.
"Nationally and internationally, many facilities that produce meat and poultry products have been temporarily closed because of COVID-19 outbreaks," says A. Sally Davis, an assistant professor of experimental pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and project director of the K-State grant. "This has put a major strain on food production, limiting the amount of meat and poultry on grocery store shelves and disrupting food and feed supply chains across the globe. Research is necessary to understand why SARS-CoV-2 is such a problem in meat and poultry processing environments and how we can mitigate the problem."
Davis said infections with SARS-CoV-2 are primarily thought to occur by exposure to infectious micro-droplets in the air and contaminated surfaces.
"We are investigating the conditions within meat and poultry processing environments, such as low temperatures, relative humidity, increased air movement and workers being in close proximity to one another, to help identify areas and surfaces that are at high risk for contamination and spread of infectious SARS-CoV-2," Davis says.
The team will evaluate potential sources of exposure and determine the amount and the longevity of infectious virus that is present during and after meat processing and packaging activities. The team seeks to identify, develop, validate and deliver practical cleaning and disinfection strategies, plus develop mathematical models to predict and reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in meat and poultry processing facilities.
Joining Davis on the research team are food safety faculty from K-State's Food Science Institute...