This study investigated the decontamination efficacy of washing treatments for whole fresh apples by using washes containing surfactants, lauric arginate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, and Tween 20, combined with peracetic acid (PAA), followed by hot air impingement drying. Whole fresh apples of selected varieties (Gala and Granny Smith) were inoculated with Listeria innocua (7 log CFU/mL) by using a dipping method, and then dried and subjected to wash treatments with selected washing solutions (H2O, PAA, PAA–lauric arginate, PAA–sodium dodecyl sulfate, and PAA–Tween 20), followed by hot air impingement drying at two different temperature and time conditions, 93°C for 60 s or 121°C for 25 s. The H2O and PAA wash followed by hot air impingement drying led to a maximum 1.5-log reduction of L. innocua on the fruit surface. Adding surfactants increased the effectiveness of washing and drying treatments, resulting in an approximate 2.2-log reduction. Surfactants increased the spreadability and evaporation rate of the washing solutions. Posttreatment changes in apple firmness were assessed during a 21-day storage at 4 and 21°C. The hot air impingement drying had no adverse effect on the firmness of the apples and did not show any further reduction in L. innocua. Washing apples with solutions containing surfactants combined with PAA followed by hot air impingement drying helped to reduce the microbial loads to some extent and may help to reduce drying times significantly.
Hot air impingement drying had no adverse effects on the quality of the apples.
Surfactants increased the spreadability and evaporation rate of the washing solutions.
Apple surface irregularities protect the microorganisms from wash treatments.
Applied treatments resulted in a maximum 2.2-log reduction of L. innocua.