Method of Applying Sanitizers and Sample Preparation Affects Recovery of Native Microflora and Salmonella on Whole Cantaloupe Surfaces

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Standardized methods for applying sanitizer treatments to cantaloupes and for recovering surviving native microflora or Salmonella on inoculated cantaloupe after sanitizing are lacking. Accordingly, the objectives of this study were to compare four methods for applying sanitizers (dipping, dipping with rotation, dipping with agitation, and dipping with rubbing) using 200 ppm of chlorine or 5% H2O2, two recovery methods (homogenization of rind plugs in a stomacher or blender), and five selective recovery media for Salmonella. Whole cantaloupes were submerged in a cocktail of five strains of Salmonella (each at approximately 2 × 108 CFU/ml) for 10 min and allowed to dry for 1 h inside a biosafety cabinet and stored at 20°C for approximately 23 h before sanitizing. The recovery of Salmonella from whole cantaloupe without sanitizing averaged 5.09 log CFU/cm2 by blending and 4.30 log CFU/cm2 by homogenization in a stomacher for the five selective agar media. Microbial populations (Salmonella or the indigenous aerobic mesophilic bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, Pseudomonas spp., and yeast and mold) were not significantly (P > 0.05) reduced by treating with water regardless of the treatment method used. Sanitizing with chlorine or H2O2 by dipping, with or without rotation for 2 min, also did not reduce microbial populations. However, populations of all classes of native microflora and Salmonella were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by sanitizer treatments (2 min) applied with agitation or by rubbing. In general, sanitizer treatments applied by rubbing resulted in greater log reductions (by up to 1.7 log unit) than for treatments applied with agitation. Populations of native microflora and Salmonella recovered from cantaloupe were higher (by up to 1.8 log unit) by blending compared to homogenization in a stomacher. In most instances, selective media used did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) for recovery of Salmonella after washing treatments.


Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: Food Safety Intervention Technologies Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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