Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Guidelines for packing minimally processed fruits and vegetables generally specify a washing or sanitizing step to remove dirt, pesticide residues, and microorganisms. In recent years, as a consequence of the increasing number of produce-related outbreaks of food-borne illness, greater attention has been given to interventions to kill or remove human pathogens sfrom fresh produce. A key goal of washing and sanitizing treatments, therefore, is removal or inactivation of such pathogens. However, published information suggests that conventional washing and sanitizing methods, even using newer sanitizing agents, are not capable of reducing microbial populations by more than 90 or 99%, although greater efficacy is required to assure product safety. This problem cannot be understood in isolation; since decontamination efficacy will depend in part on how microorganisms attach and survive on produce surfaces. In this chapter, major factors that tlimit efficacy of conventional washing and sanitizing methods and their relationship to the circumstances of contamination are discussed. The performance of conventional washing and sanitizing agents and produce washing equipment in reducing microbial loads is examined. New developments in washing and sanitizing technology are described, and the prospects for significant improvements in decontamination efficacy are examined.