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Name: Pauline
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: CA
Country: United States
Date: October 2006

I know the USDA does not allow rusty equipment used in processing plant but I want know what effect does rust have on pathogen growth? I'm thinking rust is considered as> > free-radical--bad for your health--and bacteria loves iron but how> > much is too much? A piece of meet place on rusty equipment gets cooked on high heat--how does heat affect it?

I am pretty sure that rust is not a free radical; it is Iron Oxide which is not chemically reactive. Iron bacteria are not usually pathogenic so I don't think rust in food preparation equipment is of much concern.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

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