Chili peppers are a very important crop in Mexico. However, these peppers have been associated with Salmonella infection outbreaks in the United States, and Salmonella and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes have been isolated from jalapeño and serrano peppers in Mexico. To decrease microbial contamination of fruits and vegetables, chemical agents are commonly used; however, chemical agents used to eliminate pathogenic bacteria on vegetables have a limited antimicrobial effect. Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) calyces have been reported to have an antimicrobial effect on pathogenic bacteria. In the present study, the antibacterial effect of four roselle calyx extracts (water, methanol, acetone, and ethyl acetate), sodium hypochlorite, colloidal silver, and acetic acid against foodborne bacteria was evaluated on contaminated jalapeño and serrano peppers. The 13 types of foodborne bacteria evaluated were Listeria monocytogenes, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella Typhimurium, Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella Montevideo, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli O157:H7, five E. coli pathotypes (Shiga toxin producing, enteropathogenic, enterotoxigenic, enteroinvasive, and enteroaggregative), and Vibrio cholerae O1. All 13 types attached to both pepper types, with no significant differences in attachment between jalapeño and serrano peppers. Roselle calyx extract treatment resulted in a greater reduction in levels of all foodborne bacteria than did treatment with sodium hypochlorite, colloidal silver, and acetic acid on both pepper types. Roselle calyx extracts may be a useful for disinfection of chili peppers in the field, processing plants, restaurants, and homes.

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