Impact of Wash Water Quality on Sensory and Microbial Quality, Including Escherichia coli Cross-Contamination, of Fresh-Cut Escarole
Abstract:The influence of wash water quality on the microbial load and sensory quality of fresh-cut escarole was evaluated. Additionally, the degree of Escherichia coli cross-contamination between inoculated and uninoculated products after washing was also studied. Three types of wash water, i.e., potable water, diluted recirculated water, and recirculated water, containing different microbial counts and organic loads, were used. Results showed that microbial load (P ≥ 0.02) and sensory quality (P > 0.625) of the product were not influenced by the water quality after washing and storage. Cross-contamination between inoculated and uninoculated products was observed after washing, as there was significant transmission of E. coli cells from the product to the wash water (P < 0.001). When fresh-cut escarole was contaminated at a high inoculum level (5.1 log CFU/g), wash water quality influenced the level of cross-contamination, as the highest E. coli load (P < 0.001) was shown in uninoculated fresh-cut escarole washed with recirculated water. However, when fresh-cut escarole was contaminated at a low inoculum level (3.2 log CFU/g), the wash water quality did not influence the level of cross-contamination, as E. coli slightly increased, although not at a statistically significant level, after the uninoculated product was washed with recirculated water (P > 0.035). Therefore, the contamination level may impact the effectiveness of water quality to reduce pathogen concentrations. It was clearly observed that cross-contamination of fresh-cut escarole with E. coli occurs, thereby suggesting that small amounts of contamination could impact the overall product and indicating the necessity of using wash water sanitizers to eliminate pathogens.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, CEBAS-CSIC, P.O. Box 164, Espinardo, Murcia, 30100, Spain
Publication date: December 1, 2008
More about this publication?
- IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website). The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) 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.
Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at www.foodprotection.org.
- Information for Authors
- Submit a Paper
- Subscribe to this Title
- Membership Information
- Information for Advertisers
- Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites