Effect of Acidified Sodium Chlorite, Chlorine, and Acidic Electrolyzed Water on Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes Inoculated onto Leafy Greens

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Recent foodborne outbreaks implicating spinach and lettuce have increased consumer concerns regarding the safety of fresh produce. While the most common commercial antimicrobial intervention for fresh produce is wash water containing 50 to 200 ppm chlorine, this study compares the effectiveness of acidified sodium chlorite, chlorine, and acidic electrolyzed water for inactivating Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes inoculated onto leafy greens. Fresh mixed greens were left uninoculated or inoculated with approximately 6 log CFU/g of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and L. monocytogenes and treated by immersion for 60 or 90 s in different wash solutions (1:150, wt/vol), including 50 ppm of chlorine solution acidified to pH 6.5, acidic electrolyzed water (pH 2.1 ± 0.2, oxygen reduction potential of 1,100 mV, 30 to 35 ppm of free chlorine), and acidified sodium chlorite (1,200 ppm, pH 2.5). Samples were neutralized and homogenized. Bacterial survival was determined by standard spread plating on selective media. Each test case (organism × treatment × time) was replicated twice with five samples per replicate. There was no difference (P ≥ 0.05) in the time of immersion on the antimicrobial effectiveness of the treatments. Furthermore, there was no difference (P ≥ 0.05) in survival of the three organisms regardless of treatment or time. Acidified sodium chlorite, resulted in reductions in populations of 3 to 3.8 log CFU/g and was more effective than chlorinated water (2.1 to 2.8 log CFU/g reduction). These results provide the produce industry with important information to assist in selection of effective antimicrobial strategies.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Environmental Health, Incorporated, 15300 Bothell Way N.E., Seattle, Washington 98155, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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