Fate of Salmonella enterica spp. In mixed ingredient salads containing lettuce, chicken meat and cheese.

Bovo, F., de Cesare, A., Manfreda, G., Bach, S.J., and Delaquis, P.J. (2015). "Fate of Salmonella enterica spp. In mixed ingredient salads containing lettuce, chicken meat and cheese.", Journal of Food Protection, 78(3), pp. 491-497. doi : 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-187  Access to full text

Abstract

Food service and retail sectors offer consumers a variety of mixed ingredient salads that contain fresh-cut vegetables and other ingredients such as fruits, nuts, cereals, dairy products, cooked seafood, cooked meat, cured meats, or dairy products obtained from external suppliers. Little is known about the behavior of enteric bacterial pathogens in mixed ingredient salads. A model system was developed to examine the fate of Salmonella enterica (inoculum consisting of S. enterica serovars Agona, Typhimurium, Enteritidis, Brandenberg, and Kentucky) on the surface of romaine lettuce tissues incubated alone and in direct contact with Cheddar cheese or cooked chicken. S. enterica survived but did not grow on lettuce tissues incubated alone or in contact with Cheddar cheese for 6 days at either 6 or 14°C. In contrast, populations increased from 2.01 ± 0.22 to 9.26 ± 0.22 CFU/cm2 when lettuce washed in water was incubated in contact with cooked chicken at 14°C. Populations on lettuce leaves were reduced to 1.28 ± 0.14 CFU/cm2 by washing with a chlorine solution (70 ppm of free chlorine) but increased to 8.45 ± 0.22 CFU/cm2 after 6 days at 14°C. Experimentation with a commercial product in which one third of the fresh-cut romaine lettuce was replaced with inoculated lettuce revealed that S. enterica populations increased by 4 log CFU/g during storage for 3 days at 14°C. These findings indicate that rapid growth of bacterial enteric pathogens may occur in mixed ingredient salads; therefore, strict temperature control during the manufacture, distribution, handling, and storage of these products is critical.

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