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Commercial Thermal Process for Inactivating Salmonella Poona on Surfaces of Whole Fresh Cantaloupes

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Abstract:

Outbreaks of salmonellosis by Salmonella Poona and listeriosis by Listeria monocytogenes have been associated with the consumption of cantaloupes. Commercial washing processes for cantaloupes are limited in their ability to inactivate and/or remove this human pathogen. Our objective was to develop a commercial-scale surface pasteurization process for enhancing microbiological safety of cantaloupes. Whole cantaloupes, surface inoculated with Salmonella Poona RM 2350, were stored at 32°C for 24 h prior to processing. Temperature-penetration profiles indicated that the surface temperature of the whole cantaloupe was 26 and 30°C below that of the hot water temperature after 2 min of immersion at 82 and 92°C, respectively. Hot water treatments at 92°C for 60 and 90 s reduced Salmonella Poona populations in excess of 5 log CFU/g of rind. Cantaloupes that were treated and stored at 4°C for 9 days retained their firmness quality and maintained nondetectable levels of Salmonella Poona as compared with the controls. Also, levels of Salmonella Poona on fresh-cut cantaloupe prepared from hot water–treated cantaloupes and stored for 9 days at 4°C were nondetectable as compared with the controls. These results indicate that surface pasteurization at 92°C for 90 s will enhance the microbiological safety of cantaloupes and will extend the shelf life of this commodity as well. The process parameter of 90 s or less falls within the commercial requirements of the whole-cantaloupe processor-packer industry.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-414

Affiliations: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit, Eastern Regional Research Center, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

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