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Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are studying new
sanitizing methods to enhance the safety of leafy greens—technology
that may result in safer salads. That's good news for health-conscious
consumers. Today, sales of fresh cut lettuce and leafy greens have
reached $3 billion annually, according to industry experts, and the
demand is increasing.
Food technologist Yaguang Luo, with the ARS Produce Quality and Safety
Laboratory (PQSL) in Beltsville, Md., first focused on reformulating a
new sanitizer that works better than chlorine as a wash-solution
ingredient. Chlorine solutions have been used by the food industry to
help control microbes on fresh-cut greens, such as lettuce, but
chlorine doesn't eliminate all the organisms that can be present.
Luo has been collaborating with colleagues at the University of
Illinois to test combining the use of several sanitizers, including the
new formulation, with ultrasound as a means to enhance the efficiency
of sanitization prior to bagging. They conducted a study to determine
the effects of selected sanitizer ingredients, with or without
ultrasound, on the reduction of Escherichia coli populations on spinach.
The highest E. coli reduction was 4.5 logs--meaning the bacteria
decreased from about 300,000 colony-forming units to less than 10. This
reduction was achieved through combining the newly formulated wash
solution treatment with ultrasound treatment.
The combination of a new sanitizer with ultrasound can potentially be
used to enhance the microbial safety of leafy green produce before the
bagging process, according to Luo.
Read more about this research in the July 2008 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:
ARS is a scientific agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Rosalie Marion Bliss, (301) 504-4318, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 7, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
© 2004-2008 by foodconsumer.org unless otherwise specified
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