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J Food Sci. 2018 Feb;83(2):432-439. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.14028. Epub 2018 Jan 25.

Efficacy of Peracetic Acid in Inactivating Foodborne Pathogens on Fresh Produce Surface.

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Dept. of Nutrition Food and Exercise Sciences, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, FL, 32306.
Dept. of Food Science & Technology, Univ. of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, GA, 30223, U.S.A.


Washing treatment with effective sanitizer is one of the critical steps in ensuring fresh produce safety. This study was to evaluate the efficacy of peracetic acid (PAA; VigorOx® 15 F&V), chlorine-based sanitizers (acidic electrolyzed water [AEO], near neutral electrolyzed water and bleach), lactic acid, and deionized (DI) water to reduce Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 from fresh produce surfaces. A 5-strain cocktail of E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, and S. Typhimurium DT104 was separately prepared and used for surface inoculation on produce samples (E. coli O157:H7 on romaine lettuce, lemons, tomatoes, and blueberries; L. monocytogenes on romaine lettuce and cantaloupe; S. Typhimurium DT104 on lemons, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and blueberries). PAA at 45, 85, and 100 mg/L; AEO, NNEO, and bleach at 100 mg/L of free chlorine; lactic acid at 2%; and DI water were used for washing inoculated produce in an automated produce washer for 5 min. In general, PAA at 100 mg/L achieved the highest microbial inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 (lettuce, lemon, tomato, and blueberry at 2.2, 5.7, 5.5, and 6.7 log CFU/g, respectively), S. Typhimurium DT104 (lemon, tomato, cantaloupe, blueberry at 5.4, 6.8, 4.5, and 5.9 log CFU/g, respectively), and L. monocytogenes (lettuce and cantaloupe at 2.4 and 4.4 log CFU/g, respectively). Efficacy of sanitizers on produce with coarse surface (for example, lettuce and cantaloupe) was lower than produce with smooth texture (lemon, tomato, and blueberry). Cross-contamination of E. coli O157:H7 among romaine lettuce heads during simulated retail crisping process was greatly reduced by the application of PAA and NNEO.


NNEO and PAA showed high efficacy in foodborne pathogen removal from fresh produce. Produce surface texture plays an important role in pathogen removal. NNEO and PAA effectively prevented cross-contamination during the crisping process.


crisping process; cross-contamination; electrolyzed water; fresh produce; peracetic acid

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