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Process Development for Separation/Concentration of Pathogens from Large Volumes of Fresh Produce

Fu, Tong
National Center for Food Safety & Technology
Start date
End date
Develop a rapid sampling process capable of separating and concentrating pathogens from large volumes of fresh produce to allow the direct use of existing rapid methods for in-process monitoring of pathogens in fresh produce.
More information
Several recent foodborne illness outbreaks associated with fresh produce have concerns about the microbiological safety of fresh vegetables and fruit juices. Effective monitoring of pathogens during processing is critical in ensuring the safety of these foods. Pathogen detection in foods, however, is challenging due to the low numbers of these organisms present in foods. It has been shown in the literature that tap water washing resulted in the removal of about 90 % of the microbial load from prepared salad (Adams et al.,1989). If this is also true for pathogens, the majority of the pathogens can be separated from fresh vegetables by simply rinsing the vegetables in water. The first phase of this research will examine the effectiveness of a water rinse to remove pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella from spiked fresh vegetables. The second phase of this research will be to develop filtration systems that may be used in conjunction with various rapid methods. The third phase of this research will focus on adapting processes to large-scale sampling of pressed fresh juice. The final phase of this research is to test the use of these large-scale sampling protocols in actual processing facilities.
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Predictive Microbiology
Escherichia coli