Gaseous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) was evaluated for effectiveness in killing Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut lettuce, cabbage, and carrot and Salmonella, yeasts, and molds on apples, peaches, tomatoes, and onions. Inoculum (100 μl, ca. 6.8 log CFU) containing five serotypes of Salmonella enterica, five strains of E. coli O157:H7, or five strains of L. monocytogenes was deposited on the skin and cut surfaces of fresh-cut vegetables, dried for 30 min at 22°C, held for 20 h at 4°C, and then incubated for 30 min at 22°C before treatment. The skin surfaces of apples, peaches, tomatoes, and onions were inoculated with 100 μl of a cell suspension (ca. 8.0 log CFU) containing five serotypes of Salmonella, and inoculated produce was allowed to dry for 20 to 22 h at 22°C before treatment. Treatment with ClO2 at 4.1 mg/liter significantly (α = 0.05) reduced the population of foodborne pathogens on all produce. Reductions resulting from this treatment were 3.13 to 4.42 log CFU/g for fresh-cut cabbage, 5.15 to 5.88 log CFU/g for fresh-cut carrots, 1.53 to 1.58 log CFU/g for fresh-cut lettuce, 4.21 log CFU per apple, 4.33 log CFU per tomato, 1.94 log CFU per onion, and 3.23 log CFU per peach. The highest reductions in yeast and mold populations resulting from the same treatment were 1.68 log CFU per apple and 2.65 log CFU per peach. Populations of yeasts and molds on tomatoes and onions were not significantly reduced by treatment with 4.1 mg/liter ClO2. Substantial reductions in populations of pathogens on apples, tomatoes, and onions but not peaches or fresh-cut cabbage, carrot, and lettuce were achieved by treatment with gaseous ClO2 without markedly adverse effects on sensory qualities.

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