Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2012
Publication Date: 1/31/2012
Citation: Sommers, C.H. 2012. Leafy greens: current research on microbial control, a case study [abstract]. 37th Annual Winter Meeting of the Toxicology Forum, January 31, 2012, Washington, DC. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Ionizing radiation is a safe and effective technology that can be used to improve the microbiological safety of foods including leafy greens. A number of foodborne illness outbreaks and large scale food product recalls have been attributed to consumption of leafy greens including lettuce and spinach contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes. Other foodborne illness outbreaks have been caused by contamination of fresh produce by hepatitis A virus. Ionizing radiation can be used to control foodborne pathogens using relatively low radiation doses (under 1.5 kGy) on a variety of leafy greens without affecting product quality. However, the radiation dose needed to control hepatitis A virus, which requires a radiation dose of 2 kGy to inactivate 90% of the virus, exceeds the radiation doses which leafy greens can typically tolerate. The latest research on the use of ionizing radiation for improving the microbiological safety of leafy greens will be reviewed.