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Development of Pasteurization Processes for the Destruction of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 in Sweet Cider (9601560)

Splittstoesser, Don
Cornell University
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The objective of this study is to improve the safety of sweet apple cider by developing heat treatments which will eliminate Escherichia coli 0157:H7 without adversely affecting flavor. Escherichia coli 0157:H7 has been responsible for fatal infections of children and the infirm. Although largely associated with undercooked ground beef, apple cider has been the vehicle for outbreaks that have occurred in Massachusetts and Canada. It is likely that illnesses originating from cider have been under-reported because 0157:H7 was only first recognized in 1982 and it is relatively recent that clinical laboratories have routinely tested for it.
More information
Non-pasteurized apple cider is produced in most apple growing regions of the United States. In New York State alone, 71 mills produce apple juice and cider. Most ciders do not receive a heat treatment in their preparation (a critical control point step for pathogenic bacteria) because processors believe that pasteurization harms the flavor of their product. In this research, the heat resistance of four pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 will be determined in ciders made from common apple varieties (McIntosh, Red Delicious, Cortland, Rome and RI Greening). The ciders will be prepared in our pilot plant from freshly harvested and controlled atmosphere-stored fruit. Minimal pasteurization processes at high and low temperatures will be established on the basis of heat resistance data. Taste panels will then evaluated these processes to determine which yield safe ciders that have flavors most similar to the non-heated beverage.
Project number
Escherichia coli