An antibacterial treatment consisting of 2% hydrogen peroxide at 50°C for 60 s was evaluated for its effects on the sensory quality of fresh-cut iceberg lettuce. Treated lettuce was packaged in polyethylene film by a protocol used in the fresh-cut produce industry and then stored along with untreated controls for 3, 10, and 15 days at 5°C. Gas chromatographic analysis confirmed that the desired initial volume (~6 liters) and oxygen gas content (~10%) were maintained during storage. Consumers from the local community who were the primary shoppers for their households and who purchased and ate lettuce regularly evaluated the appearance, color, aroma, flavor, and texture of the lettuce and their overall liking of the lettuce. Forty consumers were recruited to evaluate processing replication 1 on 26 April, and another 40 were chosen to evaluate processing replication 2 on 3 May. Because replication differences were observed in instrumental color measurements and in mean sensory ratings, replications were not pooled for the two test dates. Lettuce purchased for processing replication 2 was considerably greener than that used in replication 1. Overall, the antibacterial treatment was more effective than the control treatment in maintaining sensory quality over 15 days of storage, provided that the lettuce was initially intensely green. Three-fourths of the participants indicated that they would be willing to buy precut packaged lettuce that had already been treated at the packinghouse or processing plant with an antibacterial solution, and of these participants, 62.5% indicated that they would be willing to pay 5 to 10 cents more per bag.

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