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Effectiveness of Icing as a Postharvest Treatment for Control of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)

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The focus of this research was to investigate the efficacy of icing as a postharvest treatment for reduction of the levels of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in commercial quantities of shellstock oysters. The experiments were conducted in June and August of 2006 and consisted of the following treatments: (i) on-board icing immediately after harvest; (ii) dockside icing approximately 1 to 2 h prior to shipment; and (iii) no icing (control). Changes in the levels of pathogenic Vibrio spp. during wholesale and retail handling for 2 weeks postharvest were also monitored. On-board icing achieved temperature reductions in all sacks in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program standard, but dockside icing did not meet this standard. Based on one-way analysis of variance, the only statistically significant relationship between Vibrio levels and treatment occurred for samples harvested in August; in this case, the levels of V. vulnificus in the noniced oysters were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than were the levels in the samples iced on-board. When analyzing counts over the 14-day storage period, using factorial analysis, there were statistically significant differences in V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus levels by sample date and/or treatment (P < 0.05), but these relationships were not consistent. Treated (iced) oysters had significantly higher gaping (approximately 20%) after 1 week in cold storage than did noniced oysters (approximately 10%) and gaping increased significantly by day 14 of commercial storage. On-board and dockside icing did not predictably reduce the levels of V. vulnificus or V. parahaemolyticus in oysters, and icing negatively impacted oyster survival during subsequent cold storage.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Aquaculture Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, 2410 Ben Hur Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70820, USA 2: Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA 3: Food Science Department, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7624, USA 4: Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, 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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