Cocktails of lawn-collected cells were used to determine the survival of Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes on the surface of raw peanut and pecan kernels. Kernels were inoculated with mixtures of four to five strains at 3 or 6 log CFU/g, dried at room temperature, and then stored at −24 ± 1, 4 ± 2, and 22 ± 1°C for 28 or 365 days. In most cases, rates of decline of the pathogens did not differ significantly between the two inoculum concentrations in the 28-day study. At 6 log CFU/g, populations of all pathogens were reduced by 0.5 to 1.6 log CFU/g during an initial 3-day drying period on both peanuts and pecans. The moisture content of peanuts and pecans remained stable at −24 ± 1 and 22 ± 1°C; at 4 ± 2°C, the moisture content increased from 3.8 to 5.6% on peanuts and from 2.6 to 3% on pecans over 365 days. Pathogen populations were stable on pecans stored under frozen and refrigerated conditions, except for L. monocytogenes, which declined at a rate of 0.03 log CFU/g/30 days at 4 ± 2°C. Salmonella populations were stable on peanuts stored at −24 ± 1 and 4 ± 2°C, but E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes declined at rates of 0.03 to 0.12 log CFU/g/30 days. At 22 ± 1°C, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes declined at a rate of 0.22, 0.37, and 0.59 log CFU/g/30 days, respectively, on peanuts, and at 0.15, 0.34, and 1.17 log CFU/g/30 days, respectively, on pecans. Salmonella counts were above the limit of detection (0.30 log CFU/g) throughout the study. In most cases during storage, counts obtained from pecans were higher than from peanuts.

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