The overall goals of the project are to establish the degree of efficacy of chlorine dioxide (ClO2) gaseous application in disinfecting fresh leafy greens and cherry tomatoes, to establish the point of dose-dependent injury to fresh quality and shelf-life so that such injury can be avoided, to evaluate the integration of post-harvest strategies of product sanitizing and exposure to an antimicrobial through packaging to assure the microbial safety of fresh produce, and to further improve, extend and transfer treatment application methods to end-users so that adoption of a commercially feasible process becomes possible.
1. Identify ClO2 gas treatment conditions that can inactivate human pathogens on fresh-cut leafy vegetables and cherry tomatoes without causing treatment-induced quality defects. 2. To determine a specific package design that ensures and maximizes effective gases distribution inside the package even in hard to reach areas. 3. Determine the efficacy of the packaging system in inactivating foodborne pathogens and prolonging the shelf life of lettuce, spinach and cherry tomatoes. 4. Evaluate a pilot scale treatment, using ERRC BSL-2 pilot processing facility, to demonstrate technical and economical feasibility.