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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362419

Research Project: Development and Validation of Innovative Food Processing Interventions

Location: Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research

Title: Advances in Postharvest Sanitizing Regimes for Hoticultural Produce

item Gurtler, Joshua
item Fan, Xuetong
item Jin, Zhonglin
item Niemira, Brendan

Submitted to: Recent Advances in Postharvest Technologies of Horticultural Crops
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Recent years have seen a growing demand for more fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. Nevertheless, fresh produce is known to be occasionally contaminated with foodborne pathogens, which has led to numerous recalls and outbreaks of foodborne illness, affecting consumer confidence. Fresh produce is frequently consumed raw, therefore calling for a decontamination step in the processing continuum. Further, leafy greens have been shown to be more difficult to decontaminate from foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes than other types of fresh produce. The internalization of these pathogens into the tissue of fresh produce also impedes the efficacy of sanitizers. Because the ability of sanitizers to reduce populations of foodborne pathogens on fresh produce is often limited to less than a 2 log reduction, innovative sanitizers and methods of sanitization are called for. Although sanitizing agents may reduce populations of pathogens on fresh produce, their primary purpose is, in fact, to prevent cross-contamination from the water wash to the produce being washed. Another significant issue with chemical sanitizers is the loss of efficacy due to the buildup of organic debris in wash water, which is especially crucial and problematic during the use of sodium hypochlorite (NaClO or commercial bleach). This chapter will primarily deal with six sanitizers that have been studied and used commercially, including NaClO, peracetic acid, chlorine dioxide, electrolytic oxidizing water, acidified sodium chlorite and ozone. Descriptions of their modes of action as well as their effectiveness in inactivating foodborne pathogens or native background microbiota will also be examined.