The study was prompted by an increased number of outbreaks of foodborne diseases linked to low-water-activity, or dry foods, researchers said.
    
Researchers found that not only can harmful bacteria survive in dry foods, like cookie and cracker sandwiches, but they can also live for long periods of time.
    
For the study, researchers used five different serotypes of salmonella that had been isolated from foods involved in previous foodborne outbreaks.
    
Focusing on cookie and cracker sandwiches, the researchers put the salmonella into four types of fillings found in cookies or crackers and placed them into storage.
    
The researchers used cheese and peanut butter fillings for the cracker sandwiches and chocolate and vanilla fillings for the cookie sandwiches.
    
After storing, scientists determined how long salmonella was able to survive in each filling. There was survival in all types, Beuchat said, but salmonella survived longer in some types of the fillings than in others.

In some cases, the pathogen was able to survive for at least to six months in the sandwiches.
    
The ability of pathogens to survive in some remarkable settings has researchers considering the next steps for preventing contamination and outbreaks they may cause.

If there is a possibility that foodborne pathogens are present in specific ingredients, then the next step would be to stop the use of those ingredients.
    
The study was published in the Journal of Food Protection.

 

 

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