Jan. 1, 2012 - Mar. 31, 2013Award Number
Xuetong Fan, Ph.D.
USDA - ARS
J. Gurtler, K. KillingerResources
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act requires growers/packers of fresh fruits and vegetables to adapt preventive microbiological controls such as chemical sanitizers to minimize the risk of human pathogens. Tree-ripe fruits cannot withstand vigorous washing steps without impairing product quality, thus these fruits are manually packed without the use of water. To satisfy the FDA’s requirement for preventive controls and to enhance microbial safety of the soft fruits, products must be sanitized by non-aqueous technologies. Our proposed project is designed to study the feasibility of applying ultraviolet (UV-C) light to tree-ripe fruits (viz., apricots and/or peaches). Specifically, we plan to assess the efficacy of UV-C in inactivating common enteric human foodborne bacterial pathogens and maintaining fruit quality during post-UV storage. Furthermore, to ensure and validate uniform UV-C exposure of all fruit surfaces, a rotating conveyer and the use of UV film dosimetry will be evaluated. In addition, the technology will be tested in commercial trials with our industry cooperator. Successful demonstration and implementation of UV-C technology will enable the fruit industry to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Act, while improving microbial safety and increasing the consumption of healthful fresh fruits.