Summary of Awards to Date

The likelihood of cross‐contamination of head lettuce by E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and norovirus during hand harvest and recommendations for glove sanitizing and use.

Date

Jan. 1, 2011 - Dec. 31, 2012

Award Number

2011-143

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$330,541.00

Investigator

Jennifer L. Cannon, Ph.D.
University of Georgia

Co-Investigator(s)

M. Erickson, M. Habteselassie

Summary

Mandatory glove use when handling raw produce and the practice of
sanitizing gloves with bleach is common despite uncertainty that these practices improve the
safety of foods. Here, the impacts of glove use (frequency of changing and glove composition)
and sanitation (using bleach and a novel sanitizer developed at UGA) on cross-contamination of
raw head lettuce by bacterial (E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella) and viral (norovirus) pathogens
during harvest will be investigated. Since build-up (soil and lettuce residue) on gloves likely
impacts transfer of pathogens to and from gloves, accumulation ofthese materials on gloves
over time (0.5, 1,2 and 4 hr) will be quantified for volunteer harvesters wearing either rubber
or nitrile gloves. In the lab, natural accumulation will be mimicked on gloves and the likelihood
of pathogen transfer to gloves and head lettuce will be investigated. Finally, a novel sanitizer
will be evaluated for its efficacy in removing organic material accumulation and inactivating
pathogens on gloves as compared to bleach. This study will provide a scientific basis for making
recommendations on glove use and sanitation during harvesting head lettuce and will
contribute to improving the safety of fresh produce.