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Harmful bacteria can survive in sandwich crackers, cookies for months, UGA study finds

University of Georgia Research News, 12/28/2015

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that pathogens, like salmonella, can survive for at least six months in cookies and crackers. The recent study was prompted by an increased number of outbreaks of foodborne diseases linked to low–water–activity, or dry, foods. Larry Beuchat, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and researcher in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, led a study to see just how long bacteria that cause foodborne illness can survive in certain foods. “There have been an increased number of outbreaks of diseases associated with consumption of contaminated dry foods. We wouldn’t expect salmonella to grow in foods that have a very dry environment,” said Beuchat, who works with the Center for Food Safety on the UGA campus in Griffin. Beuchat and study co–author David Mann, a research professional in the center, 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.

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