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A Simple Method To Screen Cilantro and Parsley for Fecal Indicator Viruses

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A protocol has been developed to process cilantro and parsley samples for male-specific coliphages. Coliphage recovery depended on the duration of peptone rinsing, and whether the products were intact or cut. After 60 min of rinsing with 0.1% peptone, 78% of spiked coliphages were recovered from intact cilantro samples, and 60% of the spiked coliphages were recovered from cut cilantro samples. The protocol was field tested on a limited scale using cilantro and parsley samples from six retail outlets using enrichment-based and quantitative coliphage assays. Of the 18 retail cilantro and parsley samples that were analyzed, 50% (9 of 18) of the cilantro samples were positive for male-specific coliphages using the enrichment-based assay compared to 39% (7 of 18) of the parsley samples. Using the quantitative coliphage assay, only 28% (5 of 18) of the cilantro samples were positive, and none of the parsley samples were positive. The number of male-specific coliphages ranged between 1 and 11 plaque-forming units per 10 g of cilantro samples. None of the samples was positive for Escherichia coli. The results suggest that simplified male-specific coliphage screening of herb samples is possible and that male-specific coliphages be used along with conventional bacteriological indicators to screen produce for presence of fecal contamination.


Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Department of Poultry Science and Institute of Food Science & Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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