Evaluation of chlorine dioxide gas as a sanitizer for fresh fruits and vegetables
Sy, Kaye Valerie Ngo
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Outbreaks of infections associated with consumption of fruits and vegetables and deterioration of produce quality caused by microbial growth have raised interest in using gas sanitizers. Lethality of gaseous chlorine dioxide (ClO2) was evaluated for its effectiveness in killing Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, yeasts, and molds inoculated or naturally present on blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, fresh-cut cabbage, carrots, and lettuce, and fresh uncut apples, tomatoes, onions, and peaches. Results show that pathogens on produce were reduced by treatment with up to 8.1 mg/L ClO2. Treatment was least effective in sanitizing raspberries, fresh-cut lettuce, and onions. Yeasts and molds, in comparison to bacterial pathogens, were less susceptible to gaseous ClO2. Evaluation to determine the effects of gaseous ClO2 treatment on sensory quality indicated that treated and untreated berries stored at 8°C for up to 10 days were not significantly different. Chlorine dioxide gas shows promise as a sanitizer on fresh produce.