REDUCING PATHOGEN PRESENCE IN FRESH-CUT PRODUCE
Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to facilitate the adoption of food safety interventions through laboratory and pilot plant scale experiments.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A range of processing options including various sanitizing wash steps and sequences will be used to evaluate reduction of E. coli on fresh-cut leafy greens while preserving produce quality. Non-pathogenic E. coli will be inoculated onto fresh leafy green produce or cut/shredded then inoculated. The product will be packaged, treated with modified atmosphere, subjected to simulated storage/transport and refrigerated retail display conditions prior to evaluation for E. coli survival. Cells of E. coli cells will be recovered from produce and wash water and quantified using standard plating or enrichment procedures.
Experiments were conducted to evaluate the potential application of electrolyzed water for reducing pathogen contamination, and temperature abuse patterns on the quality and shelf life of packaged salads. Several thousand bags of commercially processed fresh-cut baby spinach and lettuce products were donated by Dole Fresh Vegetables. The Dole Fresh Vegetable also visited USDA facilitates in Beltsville, Maryland and attended the stakeholder advisor meeting.