Use of oregano essential oil and acetic acid to reduce Salmonella contamination on romaine lettuce
Carella, Lee Joyce
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the reduction of Salmonella enterica and the prevention of cross-contamination on romaine lettuce leaves in wash water treated with oregano essential oil, acetic acid, or their combination. Whole leaves spot inoculated with Salmonella were mixed with uninoculated leaves at ambient temperatures. Surviving levels on the leaves and the amount transferred to uninoculated leaves were determined at 2, 5, and 10 min. The combination treatment was generally more effective in reducing Salmonella levels and reducing cross-contamination than its singular components and after 10 min was not significantly different than the chlorine. Additionally, Salmonella reduction on inoculated fresh cut lettuce by the combination treatment and other sanitizers was compared. The combination treatment reduction (2.41 cfu/g) was not significantly different from chlorine (1.83 cfu/g). These results suggest the 0.02% oregano essential oil and 1% acetic acid treatment has potential as a small scale natural wash alternative.