Evaluation of Single or Double Hurdle Sanitizer Applications in Simulated Field or Packing Shed Operations for Cantaloupes Contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

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Listeria monocytogenes contamination of cantaloupes has become a serious concern as contaminated cantaloupes led to a deadly outbreak in the United States in 2011. To reduce cross-contamination between cantaloupes and to reduce resident populations on contaminated melons, application of sanitizers in packing shed wash water is recommended. The sanitizing agent of 5% levulinic acid and 2% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) applied as a single hurdle in either a simulated dump or dip treatment significantly reduced L. monocytogenes to lower levels at the stem scar compared to a simulated dump treatment employing 200 ppm chlorine; however pathogen reductions on the rind tissue were not significantly different. Double hurdle approaches employing two sequential packing plant treatments with different sanitizers revealed decreased reduction of L. monocytogenes at the stem scar. In contrast, application of sanitizers both in the field and at the packing plant led to greater L. monocytogenes population reductions than if sanitizers were only applied at the packing plant.

Cathy C. Webb
Marilyn C. Erickson
Lindsey E. Davey
Michael P. Doyle