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Comparison of cleaning fabrics for bacterial removal from food-contact surfaces

Koo, Ok-Kyung, Martin, Elizabeth M., Story, Robert, Lindsay, Daniel, Ricke, Steven C., Crandall, Philip G.
Food control 2013 v.30 no.1 pp. 292-297
Formica, Listeria monocytogenes, adenosine triphosphate, bacteria, bioluminescence, cellulose, cleaning, cotton, cross contamination, fabrics, food pathogens, food preparation, foodborne illness, ready-to-eat foods, risk, sanitizing, slurries, stainless steel, turkeys
Food-contact surfaces are highly contaminated with microorganism and great sources for transmission of foodborne pathogens. It is important to eliminate bacteria using appropriate sanitizing approaches to minimize cross-contamination during food preparation and/or consumption and reduce the risk of foodborne diseases. The objective of this study was to compare the removal efficiency of bacteria on food-contact surfaces by different cleaning cloths. Commercially available blended cellulose/cotton cloth, microfiber, scouring cloth, nonwoven fabric and terry towel were used. Stainless steel and Formica laminate surfaces were inoculated with Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat turkey slurry and the surface was wiped with different cloths. The remaining bacteria on the food-contact surfaces and bacteria immersed in each cloth were enumerated. Overall significant reductions were observed on stainless steel and Formica laminate surfaces by 0.92–2.62 and 2.21–3.44 log CFU/cm2 reduction, respectively (P < 0.05). Among all cloths, blended cellulose/cotton cloths showed the highest removal efficiency by 2.53–2.62 (stainless steel) and 3.16–3.44 (Formica) log CFU/cm2 reduction. Bacteria captured by each cloth did not show significant differences with the range of 5.40–5.69 log CFU/cm2 (stainless steel) and 2.78–3.62 log CFU/cm2 (Formica). ATP bioluminescence assay result was significantly reduced by cleaning cloths (P < 0.05) while the relative luminescence unit (RLU) value was higher on stainless steel by 2547–6073 RLU than on Formica by 208–503 RLU. These results indicate that the performance of cleaning cloths varied for the removal of bacteria and food debris depending on the fabric material and processing pattern.