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Simulation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Behavior in Fresh-Cut Lettuce Under Dynamic Temperature Conditions During Distribution from Processing to Retail.

McKellar, R., LeBlanc, D.I., Lu, J., and Delaquis, P.J. (2012). "Simulation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Behavior in Fresh-Cut Lettuce Under Dynamic Temperature Conditions During Distribution from Processing to Retail.", Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 9(3), pp. 239-244. doi : 10.1089/fpd.2011.1025  Access to full text

Abstract

The temperature of packaged lettuce was recorded throughout a retail supply chain in Canada during the various stages of storage and shipping from the processor to retail. Temperatures were monitored in 27 cases of lettuce destined for three stores in three replicate trials conducted during the winter. A dynamic model that predicts the effect of temperature on the growth or die-off of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in packaged fresh-cut lettuce was applied to simulate the behavior of E. coli O157:H7 in the system. Simulations were carried out using distributions to account for variation in the temperature parameter and the die-off coefficient of the dynamic growth/death model. The results indicate that there was a predicted overall mean decline in cell numbers of 0.983 log cfu g-1 and that the extent of cell death was proportional to the total time spent in the cold chain. Slight growth was predicted in a few instances when the dynamic temperature was above the permissive temperature of 5°C. These results suggest that generally there would be little or no growth of E. coli O157:H7 in product maintained at the proper temperature in the chain. Moreover, the predicted decline in cell numbers at refrigeration temperatures suggests that storage at 5°C or below prior to consumption would reduce populations of the pathogen in fresh-cut lettuce.

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