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Survival and Growth of Acid-Adapted and Unadapted Salmonella in and on Raw Tomatoes as Affected by Variety, Stage of Ripeness, and Storage Temperature

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Consumption of raw round and Roma tomatoes has been associated with outbreaks of salmonellosis. A study was done to determine whether survival and growth of Salmonella in and on tomatoes is affected by variety of tomato, stage of ripeness, and storage temperature. The influence of acid adaptation of cells and site of inoculation on survival and growth was studied. Salmonella grew in stem scar and pulp tissues of round, Roma, and grape tomatoes stored at 12 and 21°C but not in those tomatoes stored at 4°C. Survival and growth was largely unaffected by variety and stage of ripeness at the time of inoculation. The pathogen did not grow on the skin of grape tomatoes stored at 4, 12, and 21°C. Survival and growth of Salmonella inoculated into stem scar and pulp tissues of round and Roma tomatoes were unaffected by exposure of cells to an acidic (pH 4.75) environment before inoculation. Results emphasize the importance of preventing contamination of tomatoes with Salmonella at all stages of ripeness, regardless of variety or previous exposure of cells to an acidic environment.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety and Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA

Publication date: August 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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