More efficient sampling and detection methods of pathogens on fresh produce are needed. The purpose of this study was to compare a novel rinse/membrane filtration method (RMFM) to a more traditional sponge rubbing or stomaching method in processing jalapeño peppers and cantaloupe samples for detection of Escherichia coli , Salmonella enterica , and Listeria monocytogenes . For jalapeño peppers inoculated with 10 6 , 10 4 and 10 2 CFU of each pathogen, and cantaloupes inoculated at 10 6 , 10 4 CFU, all pathogens were detected in all (100%) of the samples by RMFM at a 10 ml filtration volume, as well as by the stomacher and sponge rubbing methods. However, for cantaloupe inoculated at 10 2 CFU, detection differed by pathogen: S. enterica (20% RMFM; 60% stomacher; 20% sponge), L. monocytogenes (40% RMFM; 60% stomacher; 20% sponge), and E. coli O157:H7 (100% RMFM; 75% stomacher; and 75% sponge). When RMFM was compared to the other methods in accordance with guidelines in the ISO16140:2003 protocol, it produced values > 95% in relative accuracy, relative specificity, and relative sensitivity. Overall, the RMFM performed similar or better than the homogenization and sponge surface rubbing methods, and is a good alternative for processing large numbers of produce samples for bacterial pathogen detection.

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