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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: EFFICACY OF 1% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE WASH IN DECONTAMINATING APPLES AND CANTALOUPE MELONS

Authors
item Sapers, Gerald
item Sites, Joseph

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2003
Publication Date: March 10, 2003
Citation: SAPERS, G.M., SITES, J.E. EFFICACY OF 1% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE WASH IN DECONTAMINATING APPLES AND CANTALOUPE MELONS. JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE. 2003. V. 68 (5). P. 1793-1797.

Interpretive Summary: Improved methods of decontaminating fruits and vegetables are needed to reduce the risk of produce-related food-borne illness. Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of 5% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in inactivating E. coli on artificially contaminated apples. Recent action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now exempts use of up to 1% H2O2 applied to all post-harvest agricultural food commodities from the requirement of a tolerance. Therefore, our objective was to investigate the efficacy of 1% H2O2 in decontaminating apples and cantaloupes containing human pathogens. Apples and cantaloupes, inoculated with pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of E. coli were washed with 1% H2O2 at 20 or 40 °C for 15 or 30 minutes Population reductions of 2.5-3 logs were obtained on apples with all treatments. However, these treatments were ineffective in decontaminating cantaloupes. The apple treatments could be applied in a wet dump tank, equipment that is widely available to apple packers and processors. These results indicate that treatment with 1% H2O2 is a potential alternative to use of chlorine in sanitizing apples.

Technical Abstract: Efficacy of 1% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in decontaminating apples and cantaloupes containing human pathogens was investigated. Apples inoculated with Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922, a surrogate for E. coli O157:H7) were washed with 1% H2O2 at 20 or 40 °C for 15 or 30 min. Population reductions approaching 3 logs were obtained with all treatments. Comparable reductions were obtained with apples inoculated with 3 strains of E. coli O157:H7 associated with cider outbreaks or a 5-strain cocktail. The 1% H2O2 treatment was ineffective against E. coli 766 (ATCC 9637, a surrogate for Salmonella Poona) on inoculated cantaloupes. Treatment of apples with 1 % H2O2 was carried out successfully in a wet dump tank.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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