Sara Gragg

Associate Professor

Teaching, Research



Office Location

1933 Observatory Dr
2110 MSABD
Madison, WI 53706

Portrait of Dr. Sara Gragg.

Sara Gragg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences and the Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her B.S. in Food Science and Technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, M.S. in Food Science from Texas Tech University, and her Ph.D. in Animal Science from Texas Tech University. She has over 19 years of experience in food safety research. Her research program investigates food safety issues affecting the meat industry, with specific interests in post-harvest interventions to prevent and/or reduce pathogen presence. She is particularly interested in studying the pre-harvest transmission of foodborne pathogens in food animals, including high-risk animal tissues such as lymph nodes, as well as interventions to reduce foodborne pathogens in live animals. She has taught courses in food microbiology, food policy, contemporary issues in animal science and agriculture, and global food systems leadership.

Selected Peer Reviewed Articles

Maher, J.M., J.S. Drouillard, A.N. Baker, V. de Aguiar Veloso, Q. Kang, J.J. Kastner, and S.E. Gragg. 2023. Impact of the probiotic organism Megasphaera elsdenii on Escherichia coli O157:H7 prevalence in finishing cattle. Journal of Food Protection. 86:100133.

Maher, J.M., J. S. Drouillard, A.N. Baker, V. de Aguiar Veloso, Q. Kang, J.J. Kastner, and S.E. Gragg. Reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in finishing cattle fed corn genetically modified to produce increased concentrations of alpha amylase in the corn kernel. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. Online ahead of print.

Pozuelo Bonilla, K., D. Vega, J. Maher, F. Najar-Villareal, Q. Kang, V. Trinetta, T.G. O’Quinn, R.K. Phebus, and S.E. Gragg. 2023. Validation of commercial antimicrobial intervention technologies to control Salmonella on skin-on market hog carcasses and chilled pork wholesale cuts. Food Control, 151:109829.

Vargas, D. A., Betancourt-Barszcz, G. K., Blandon, S. E., Applegate, S. F., Brashears, M. M., Miller, M. F., Gragg, S. E., & Sanchez-Plata, M. X. 2023. Rapid quantitative method development for beef and pork lymph nodes using BAX® System Real Time Salmonella Foods. 12: 822. https://doi:10.3390/foods12040822

Irakoze, Z., L. Nwadike, D. Stoeckel, M. Bhullar, P. Byers, and S.E. Gragg. 2022. Evaluation of peroxyacetic acid and chlorine as treatments for surface water for post-harvest uses in the produce industry. 14:3890.

Miller, M., J.M. Maher, B. Wiseman, and S.E. Gragg. 2022. Salmonella is present in multiple lymph nodes of market hog carcasses at slaughter. Food Protection Trends. 42:100-106.

Haley, O.C., Y. Zhao, J.M. Maher, S.E. Gragg, V. Trinetta, M. Bhullar, and L. Nwadike. 2022. Comparative assessment of the microbial quality of agricultural water on Kansas and Missouri fresh produce farms. Food Protection Trends. 42:186-193.

Habib, K., J. Drouillard, V. De Aguiar Veloso, G. Huynh, V. Trinetta, and S. E. Gragg. 2022. The Use of probiotic Megasphaera elsdenii as a pre-harvest intervention to reduce Salmonella in finishing beef cattle: An in vitro model. Microorganisms. 10:1400.

Unruh D.A., B.C. Uhl, R.K. Phebus, and S.E. Gragg. 2021. Attachment of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli to pre-chill and post-chill beef brisket tissue. 9:2320.

Pozuelo, K.C., D. Vega, K. Habib, F. Najar-Villarreal, Q. Kang, V. Trinetta, T.G. O’Quinn, R.K. Phebus, and S.E. Gragg. 2021. Validation of post-harvest antimicrobial interventions to control Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) on market hog carcass surfaces. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 358:109421.

Schwan, C.L., S. Lomonaco, L.M. Bastos, P.W. Cook, J. Maher, V. Trinetta, M. Bhullar, R.K. Phebus, S. Gragg, J. Kastner, and Jessie L. Vipham. 2021. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of antimicrobial resistance profiles in non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica strains isolated from Cambodian informal markets. Frontiers in Microbiology. 12: 3389/fmicb.2021.711472.

Unruh, D., K.J. Stull, E.D. Pliakoni, and S.E. Gragg. 2021. A bisulfate of soda and peroxyacetic acid solution reduces Salmonella on fresh-cut spinach. Food Protection Trends. 41:409-415. https://doi:10.4315/1541-9576-41.4.409org/10.4315/1541-9576-41.4.409

Stanley, H., K. Batziakas, S.E. Gragg, C.L. Rivard, and E.D. Pliakoni. 2020. Impact of modified atmosphere packaging and ozonated water on shelf life, quality, and safety of vegetables stored at non optimum temperatures. Journal of Postharvest Technology. 8:79-95.

Schwan, C.L., K. Desiree, N. Bello, L. Bastos, L. Hok, R.K. Phebus, S.E. Gragg, J. Kastner, and J.L. Vipham. 2020. Prevalence of Salmonella enterica isolated from food contact and non-food contact surfaces in Cambodian informal markets. Journal of Food Protection. 84:73-79. 20-112

Schwan, C.L., V. Trinetta, M. Balkey, P.W. Cook, R.K. Phebus, S.E. Gragg, J.L. Vipham, and S. Lomonaco. 2020. Draft genome sequences of 81 Salmonella enterica strains from informal markets in Cambodia. Microbiology Resource Announcements. 9:e00773-20. https://10.1128/MRA.00773-20

Select Book Chapters

Gragg, S.E. and M.M. Brashears. 2022. Hurdle Technology, p. 205-210. In Dikeman (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Meat Sciences, 3rd Edition. Academic Press, Waltham, MA.

Ackleson, J., S.E. Gragg, J. Kastner E. Mulcahy, and G Unruh. 2020. Developing primary laws and secondary regulations for food safety: The case of FSMA and its attendant rules, p. 95-102. InA. Santella (ed.), Master of Public Health Competencies: A Case Study Approach, Jones and Bartlett Learning, Burlington, MA.

Undergraduate Courses

DY SCI/AGRONOMY 471 — Food Production Systems and Sustainability
Co-Instructor with Dr. Michel Wattiaux – Beginning Spring 2024

  • Committee for the National FFA Food Science Career Development Event
  • Academic representative – Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo)
  • Vice-Chair – Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences Animal and Veterinary Biosciences Curriculum Committee
  • Member – Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences Flock, Colony, and Herd Committee
  • Editorial board member for the following journals: Journal of Food Protection, Microorganisms, and Pathogens

2018 Advanced Degree Graduate of Distinction Award (post-graduate award) – Texas Tech University Department of Animal and Food Sciences