Efficacy of Commonly Used Disinfectants for the Inactivation of Calicivirus on Strawberry, Lettuce, and a Food-Contact Surface

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Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) are important causes of foodborne gastroenteritis in restaurant-related outbreaks. Efficacy of common disinfection methods against these viruses on food-contact surfaces and fresh produce is not known partially because of their nonculturability. Seven commercial disinfectants for food-contact surfaces and three sanitizers for fruits and vegetables were tested against cultivable feline calicivirus (FCV). Disks of stainless steel, strawberry, and lettuce were contaminated with known amounts of FCV. The disinfectants were applied at one, two, and four times the manufacturer's recommended concentrations for contact times of 1 and 10 min. The action of disinfectant was stopped by dilution, and the number of surviving FCVs was determined by titration in cell cultures. An agent was considered effective if it reduced the virus titer by at least 3 log10 from an initial level of 107 50% tissue culture infective dose. None of the disinfectants was effective when used at the manufacturer's recommended concentration for 10 min. Phenolic compounds, when used at two to four times the recommended concentration, completely inactivated FCV on contact surfaces. A combination of quaternary ammonium compound and sodium carbonate was effective on contact surfaces at twice the recommended concentration. Rinsing of produce with water alone reduced virus titer by 2 log10. On artificially contaminated strawberry and lettuce, peroxyacetic acid and hydrogen peroxide was the only effective formulation when used at four times the manufacturers' recommended concentration for 10 min. These findings suggest that FCV and perhaps NLVs are very resistant to commercial disinfectants. However, phenolic compounds at two to four times their recommended concentrations appear to be effective at decontaminating environmental surfaces and may help control foodborne outbreaks of calicivirus in restaurants.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary Diagnostic Medicine, University of Minnesota, 1333 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108 2: Department of Environment and Occupational Health, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware Street S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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