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Efficacy of Detergents in Removing Salmonella and Shigella spp. from the Surface of Fresh Produce

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Fresh produce has been implicated in several foodborne disease outbreaks. Produce surfaces can be primary sites of contamination during production and handling. One approach to reduce contamination is to treat fresh produce with rinsing agents. In this study, different detergent agents were used at 22 and 40°C to determine their efficacy in removing Salmonella and Shigella spp. from the surfaces of strawberries, tomatoes, and green-leaf lettuce. Produce was inoculated at 22°C with a cocktail of nalidixic acid-resistant organisms (6 to 6.5 log CFU/ml). After air drying for 1 h, samples were rinsed with either 0.1% Tween 80, 0.1% sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), or water (control) at 22 or 40°C. Rinse solutions were spiral plated onto tryptic soy agar supplemented with 50 mg of nalidixic acid per liter. In trials involving strawberries and lettuce, Salmonella and Shigella were removed at levels of 4 and 3 log CFU/ml, respectively, except from Salmonella-inoculated strawberries rinsed with SLS, for which minimal removal rates were 1.5 log CFU/ml at 22°C and <1 log CFU/ml at 40°C. When whole strawberries were analyzed after rinsing with SLS, few organisms were recovered. This result suggests that SLS may have a lethal or sublethal effect on Salmonella, especially when a 40°C solution is used. Salmonella and Shigella removal rates for tomatoes were 1 and 1.5 log CFU/ml lower, respectively, than those for strawberries or lettuce. Overall, detergents were no more effective in removing organisms from produce than water was. The detergents examined would not constitute effective overall produce rinse treatments.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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