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Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2001
Publication Date: 10/15/2001
Citation: Fett, W.F. 2001. Research on ensuring the microbial safety of sprouts. Proceedings 30th Annual Meeting Tsukuba, Ibaraki, October 15-19, p.77-81.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Worldwide there have been numerous outbreaks of foodborne illness due to consumption of contaminated alfalfa, radish and other types of sprouts. The US experienced its first mung bean sprout-related outbreak in the year 2000 followed by two such outbreaks to date in 2001. Since the primary source of contamination is thought to be the seed used for sprouting, effective means for sanitizing seed that can be used by organic and non- organic sprout producers are required. Treatment of mung bean seed with high levels of chlorine from calcium hypochlorite was tested for its ability to eliminate Salmonella and E coli 0157:H7 from seed inoculated in the laboratory. Combinations of sterile tap water rinses before and after treatment along with 15 min treatments with buffered 3.0% (w/v) Ca(OC1)2 were most effective leading to 3.8 to 5.0 log cfu/g reductions in populations of E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella, respectively. Various citrus-related products were compared with chlorine for reducing the pathogen levels on laboratory-inoculated alfalfa seed and were found to be of similar effectiveness at high concentrations. However, treating seed with high levels of chlorine or with the citrus-related commercial products did not eliminate the pathogens from the seed. Freeze-thawing treatments at various temperatures and times were also tested as a seed sanitizing process, but were found to be ineffective.