Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2004
Publication Date: 7/12/2004
Citation: Sapers, G.M., Annous, B.A. 2004. Browning inhibitor and processing aid contamination. Annual Meeting of Institute of Food Technologists. Paper No. 89-4. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Solutions containing browning inhibitors, acidulants, calcium salts and other additives or processing aids may be applied to fresh-cut fruits and vegetables to prevent spoilage or enhance quality. Such solutions may become contaminated with human pathogens originating in the processing plant environment or incoming raw material. Under favorable conditions, these contaminants may proliferate in the solution and cross-contaminate the fresh-cut product, thereby creating the potential for a food poisoning outbreak. Therefore, it is important that we understand potential routes of contamination and contributing factors that may result in product contamination during application of additives and processing aids. Furthermore, we must develop interventions to reduce the risk of product contamination via these treatments. In this paper, examples of environmental contamination sources will be provided. Plant layout and other factors affecting the movement of microbial contaminants within fresh-cut processing facilities will be examined. Conditions favoring survival and growth of contaminants in processing aid and additive solutions will be discussed. Finally, strategies will be presented for avoiding human pathogen contamination of such solutions and the products treat therewith by excluding environmental contaminants; improving plant layout, sanitation, handling practices, and sanitizing treatments for raw materials; removing microbial contaminants from processing aid and additive solutions, and suppressing their growth in these solutions, and in the fresh-cut product. Implementation of such measures can greatly reduce the risk that fresh-cut fruits and vegetables will be a source of foodborne illness.