The survival of Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes was determined on almonds and pistachios held at typical storage temperatures. Almond kernels and inshell pistachios were inoculated with four- to six-strain cocktails of nalidixic acid–resistant Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, or L. monocytogenes at 6 log CFU/g and then dried for 72 h. After drying, inoculated nuts were stored at −19, 4, or 24°C for up to 12 months. During the initial drying period after inoculation, levels of all pathogens declined by 1 to 2 log CFU/g on both almonds and pistachios. During storage, moisture content (4.8%) and water activity (0.4) of the almonds and pistachios were consistent at −19°C; increased slowly to 6% and 0.6, respectively, at 4°C; and fluctuated from 4 to 5% and 0.3 to 0.5 at 24°C, respectively. Every 1 or 2 months, levels of each pathogen were enumerated by plating; samples were enriched when levels fell below the limit of detection. No reduction in population level was observed at −19 or 4°C for either pathogen, with the exception of E. coli O157:H7–inoculated almonds stored at 4°C (decline of 0.09 log CFU/g/month). At 24°C, initial rates of decline were 0.20, 0.60, and 0.71 log CFU/g/month on almonds and 0.15, 0.35, and 0.86 log CFU/g/month on pistachios for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes, respectively, but distinct tailing of the survival curves was noted for both E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes.

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