Effect of washing practices on the microflora on Georgia-grown cantaloupes
Akins, Edith Deann
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In recent years, there have been foodborne illness outbreaks associated with the consumption of cantaloupe. Cantaloupes can be contaminated with pathogens anywhere from the field to the packing line. Cantaloupes are handled and packed differently in the United States. Georgia-grown cantaloupes are brought to sheds, washed, and packed. The objective of this thesis was to compare the washing and packing practices of cantaloupes in Georgia. Sheds 1 and 4 utilized a chlorinated dump tank to wash melons in. Sheds 2 and 3 used heat and chlorine in the dump tanks. There was a significant (p<0.05) reduction in aerobic populations and Escherichia coli from the field to the dump tank for sheds 1 and 4. The water temperatures used at sheds 2 and 3 were not high enough to effectively reduce the microbial populations that were evaluated. Populations increased after the dump tank suggesting contamination after washing.