Effectiveness of UV light as a means to reduce Salmonella contamination on tomatoes and food contact surfaces
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The effectiveness of ultraviolet light at a wavelength of 254 nm to reduce Salmonella contamination on tomatoes and food contact surfaces was evaluated. Inoculated tomatoes were exposed to UV-C light at various doses. All UV treatments significantly reduced Salmonella populations (p<0.05). The effectiveness of UV-C light in reducing Salmonella contamination on different locations on tomato surfaces under various UV doses was also explored. Regardless of the locations, UV treatment was effective in decreasing Salmonella populations. Subsequent studies evaluated possible photoreactivation or dark repair of injured Salmonella post-UV treatment. Photoreactivation was not detected, nor was dark repair. UV light was also evaluated for its effectiveness to reduce Salmonella contamination on food contact surfaces (stainless steel, HDPE, waxed cardboard and PVC). UV-treated coupons were significantly different from the controls (p<0.05). Salmonella populations decreased the least on waxed cardboard. Application of UV-C light in tomato handling facilities is feasible.