Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/2/2023
Publication Date: 5/6/2023
Citation: Fan, X., Gurtler, J., Mattheis, J.P. 2023. Possible sources of Listeria monocytogenes contamination of fresh-cut apples and antimicrobial interventions during antibrowning treatments: A review. Journal of Food Protection. 86:100100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfp.2023.100100.
Technical Abstract: Fresh-cut apples, being rich in antioxidants and other nutrient components, have emerged as popular snacks in restaurants, at home and for school lunch programs, partially due to freshness, convenience, and portion size availability. Two major challenges in processing fresh-cut apples are browning of cut surfaces and contamination with human pathogens. Regarding human pathogens, contamination by Listeria monocytogenes is the major concern with fresh-cut apples, as evidenced by two recent outbreaks of whole apples and numerous recalls of fresh-cut apples. Antibrowning agents currently used by the industry have little to no antimicrobial properties. The present review discusses possible origins of L. monocytogenes in apples, ranging from orchard to antibrowning treatments, which eventually leads to contamination of fresh-cut apples. One critical opportunity to minimize fresh-cut apple contamination appears to be during the antibrowning treatment. The development of formulations and coatings that have both antibrowning and antimicrobial properties has been extensively discussed. In addition, several research needs, and considerations are discussed to further reduce the chance of pathogen contamination on fresh-cut apples.