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Fates of Seeded Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella on Selected Fresh Culinary Herbs during Refrigerated Storage

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The fates of seeded Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella on selected fresh culinary herbs were evaluated at a refrigerated temperature (4°C). Fresh herbs, including cilantro, oregano, basil, chive, parsley, and rosemary, were inoculated with six-strain mixtures of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, and the microbial populations were monitored at 1, 5, 11, 16, 19, and 24 days. For both pathogens, a significant decrease in the population (P < 0.0001) occurred within the first 5 days of storage (<0.8 log). Both pathogens remained the highest on cilantro and the lowest on rosemary (P < 0.0001). Storage time had a significant effect on the survival of E. coli O157:H7; populations declined as storage time progressed. Although storage of cilantro, basil, and chive was terminated after 19 days because of deteriorated quality, significant numbers of both pathogens were recovered from the remaining fresh herbs after 24 days of storage. The results showed that both bacteria were extremely persistent on all test herbs under the test conditions. The results also reinforce the concept that, once contaminated, bacterial pathogens can persist on fresh herbs throughout a normal distribution time.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, 3028 McCarty Hall, P.O. Box 110310, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0310, USA 2: Division of Postharvest Technology, School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thung-Kru, Bang-Mod, Bangkok, Thailand 10140

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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