Author(s): Ukuku DO, Pilizota V, Sapers GM
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Abstract Cantaloupe melon has been associated with outbreaks of salmonellosis. Contamination might be introduced into the flesh from the rind by cutting or by contact of cut pieces with contaminated rinds. Our objectives were to investigate the efficacy of hot water or hot 5\% hydrogen peroxide treatments in reducing the population of native microflora and inoculated Salmonella on cantaloupe rind and transfer to fresh-cut tissue during cutting. Whole cantaloupes, inoculated with a cocktail of Salmonella serovars to give 4.6 log CFU/cm2 and stored at 5 or 20 degrees C for up to 5 days, were treated with hot water (70 or 97 degrees C) or 5\% hydrogen peroxide (70 degrees C) for 1 min at 0, 1, 3, or 5 days postinoculation. Aerobic mesophilic bacteria and yeast and mold on treated whole melon and fresh-cut pieces were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by all three treatments. Treatments with hot water (70 and 97 degrees C) caused a 2.0- and 3.4-log CFU/cm2 reduction of Salmonella on whole cantaloupe surfaces irrespective of days of postinoculation storage prior to treatment up to 5 days at 5 or 20 degrees C, respectively. Treatment with 5\% hydrogen peroxide (70 degrees C) caused a 3.8-log CFU/cm2 reduction of Salmonella. Fresh-cut pieces prepared from untreated inoculated melons and those treated with 70 degrees C hot water were positive for Salmonella. However, fresh-cut pieces prepared from inoculated whole melon dipped in water (97 degrees C) or hydrogen peroxide (70 degrees C) for 60 s were negative for Salmonella, as determined by dilution plating onto agar medium, but were positive after enrichment at days 3 and 5 of storage at 5 degrees C. The ability to detect Salmonella in fresh-cut pieces was dependent on the initial level of inoculation. The results of this study indicate that the use of hot water (97 degrees C) or heated hydrogen peroxide to reduce the population of Salmonella on contaminated whole cantaloupes will enhance the microbial safety of the fresh-cut product.
This article was published in J Food Prot
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology