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Growth or penetration of Salmonella into citrus fruit is not facilitated by natural-light labels

Danyluk, Michelle D., Friedrich, Loretta M., Sood, Preeti, Etxeberria, Ed
Food control 2013 v.34 no.2 pp. 398-403
Salmonella, carbon dioxide, fruit peels, fruits, juices, oranges, postharvest treatment, vegetables
In natural-light labeling of fruits and vegetables, the desired information is etched onto the produce surface using a low-energy carbon dioxide laser beam (10,600 nm). Etched characters are formed by surface depressions in the epidermis that may facilitate entrance of decay and pathogenic organisms. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of natural-light labeling and different postharvest treatments on Salmonella populations' ability to survive/grow and penetrate into citrus fruit. A five-strain cocktail of Salmonella was spot inoculated onto Valencia orange in different application sequences with wax and natural-light etching. Samples were stored at 10, 26 °C, or combinations of both, for up to 42 days. Etched peels and corresponding juices were extracted from whole oranges following storage and enumerated for Salmonella. No set of conditions involving natural-light labeling promoted the growth of Salmonella on the fruit surface or resulted in the detection of Salmonella from the juice of sound fruit. Survival of Salmonella populations on the peel surface did not differ between any of the treatment and control samples. In all cases, Salmonella declined between 1.5 and 3.0 log CFU/orange after 30 days, with faster decline noted at 10 °C. Based on the data obtained from all treatments and under conditions extremely unfavorable and unrealistic in terms of fruit storage, natural-light labeling citrus fruit peels and subsequent waxing in any order did not allow for the growth or influence the natural decline of Salmonella populations on citrus fruit surfaces, or movement into juices, as compared to controls.