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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 8678-8690; doi:10.3390/ijerph120808678

Evaluation of Combined Disinfection Methods for Reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 Population on Fresh-Cut Vegetables

R&D&I Area, National Centre for Food Technology and Safety (CNTA), San Adrian 31570, Navarra, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mieke Uyttendaele, Eelco Franz and Oliver Schlüter
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 July 2015 / Published: 23 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety)
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Abstract

Most current disinfection strategies for fresh-cut industry are focused on the use of different chemical agents; however, very little has been reported on the effectiveness of the hurdle technology. The effect of combined decontamination methods based on the use of different sanitizers (peroxyacetic acid and chlorine dioxide) and the application of pressure (vacuum/positive pressure) on the inactivation of the foodborne pathogen E. coli O157:H7 on fresh-cut lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and carrots (Daucus carota) was studied. Fresh produce, inoculated with E. coli O157:H7, was immersed (4 °C, 2 min) in tap water (W), chlorine water (CW), chlorine dioxide (ClO2: 2 mg/L) and peroxyacetic acid (PAA: 100 mg/L) in combination with: (a) vacuum (V: 10 mbar) or (b) positive pressure application (P: 3 bar). The product quality and antimicrobial effects of the treatment on bacterial counts were determined both in process washing water and on fresh-cut produce. Evidence obtained in this study, suggests that the use of combined methods (P/V + sanitizers) results in a reduction on the microorganism population on produce similar to that found at atmospheric pressure. Moreover, the application of physical methods led to a significant detrimental effect on the visual quality of lettuce regardless of the solution used. Concerning the process water, PAA proved to be an effective alternative to chlorine for the avoidance of cross-contamination. View Full-Text
Keywords: fresh-cut vegetables; food sanitizers; decontamination; hurdle technology; microbiological quality; Escherichia coli; process water; peroxyacetic acid; chlorine dioxide fresh-cut vegetables; food sanitizers; decontamination; hurdle technology; microbiological quality; Escherichia coli; process water; peroxyacetic acid; chlorine dioxide
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Petri, E.; Rodríguez, M.; García, S. Evaluation of Combined Disinfection Methods for Reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 Population on Fresh-Cut Vegetables. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 8678-8690.

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