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Reusable Plastic Crates (RPCs) for Fresh Produce (Case Study on Cauliflowers): Sustainable Packaging but Potential Salmonella Survival and Risk of Cross-Contamination

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Postharvest and Refrigeration Group, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica (ETSIA), Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (UPCT), Paseo Alfonso XIII, 48, 30203 Cartagena, Spain
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Food Quality and Health Group, Institute of Plant Biotechnology (UPCT), Campus Muralla del Mar, 30202 Cartagena, Spain
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Plant Production Department, ETSIA, Institute of Plant Biotechnology (UPCT), Paseo Alfonso XIII, 48, 30203 Cartagena, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rafael Gavara
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061254
Received: 7 May 2021 / Revised: 26 May 2021 / Accepted: 28 May 2021 / Published: 1 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers on Sustainable Food Packaging)
The handling of fresh fruits and vegetables in reusable plastic crates (RPCs) has the potential to increase the sustainability of packaging in the fresh produce supply chain. However, the utilization of multiple-use containers can have consequences related to the microbial safety of this type of food. The present study assessed the potential cross-contamination of fresh cauliflowers with Salmonella enterica via different contact materials (polypropylene from RPCs, corrugated cardboard, and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) from wooden boxes). Additionally, the survival of the pathogenic microorganism was studied in cauliflowers and the contact materials during storage. The life cycle assessment (LCA) approach was used to evaluate the environmental impact of produce handling containers made from the different food-contact materials tested. The results show a higher risk of cross-contamination via polypropylene compared with cardboard and MDF. Another outcome of the study is the potential of Salmonella for surviving both in cross-contaminated produce and in contact materials under supply chain conditions. Regarding environmental sustainability, RPCs have a lower environmental impact than single-use containers (cardboard and wooden boxes). To exploit the potential environmental benefits of RPCs while ensuring food safety, it is necessary to guarantee the hygiene of this type of container. View Full-Text
Keywords: pathogenic bacteria; food contact surface; transfer; Brassica; life cycle analysis; wooden boxes; environmental impact pathogenic bacteria; food contact surface; transfer; Brassica; life cycle analysis; wooden boxes; environmental impact
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MDPI and ACS Style

López-Gálvez, F.; Rasines, L.; Conesa, E.; Gómez, P.A.; Artés-Hernández, F.; Aguayo, E. Reusable Plastic Crates (RPCs) for Fresh Produce (Case Study on Cauliflowers): Sustainable Packaging but Potential Salmonella Survival and Risk of Cross-Contamination. Foods 2021, 10, 1254. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061254

AMA Style

López-Gálvez F, Rasines L, Conesa E, Gómez PA, Artés-Hernández F, Aguayo E. Reusable Plastic Crates (RPCs) for Fresh Produce (Case Study on Cauliflowers): Sustainable Packaging but Potential Salmonella Survival and Risk of Cross-Contamination. Foods. 2021; 10(6):1254. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061254

Chicago/Turabian Style

López-Gálvez, Francisco, Laura Rasines, Encarnación Conesa, Perla A. Gómez, Francisco Artés-Hernández, and Encarna Aguayo. 2021. "Reusable Plastic Crates (RPCs) for Fresh Produce (Case Study on Cauliflowers): Sustainable Packaging but Potential Salmonella Survival and Risk of Cross-Contamination" Foods 10, no. 6: 1254. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061254

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