Sep. 15, 2004 - Sep. 14, 2008Award Number
USDA - CSREESAmount Awarded
Applegate, B., Nelson, P., Han, Y., and Bourquin, L.Summary
Numerous outbreaks of foodborne pathogenic infections have been associated with fresh and minimally processed produce, such as green onions (Hepatitis A), lettuce (E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes), sprouts (E. coli O157:H7), cantaloupes (Salmonella spp.), and tomatoes (L. monocytogenes). Improving produce safety has been challenging for regulatory agencies and the produce industry due to low effectiveness (<2 log reduction) of current decontamination treatments, such as washing with chlorinated water and other aqueous sanitizers. Research is needed to determine bacterial inactivation kinetics, efficacy data on other high-risk produce models, quality effects, and ClO2-related by-products in/on treated produce. The long-term goal of this proposed research effort is to improve food safety and quality of fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables by developing a ClO2 gas decontamination technology for the produce industry under approved regulatory status. In this study, we propose to further study efficacy of chlorine dioxide gas by: a) designing, developing, and evaluating a miniaturized continuous tunnel ClO2 gas treatment system for reducing microbial pathogens on produce, b) determining the effects of ClO2 gas treatment on produce quality and chemical safety of selected whole fruits and vegetables using the continuous tunnel ClO2 treatment system, and, c) developing a series of outreach, extension, and industrial educational programs to assist in transferring the technology to the produce industry and other interested parties.