Consumption of fresh-cut produce has sharply increased recently causing an increase
of foodborne illnesses associated with these products. As generally, acidic fruits
are considered 'safe' from a microbiological point of view, the aim of this work was
to study the growth and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria
innocua on minimally-processed peaches. The three foodborne pathogens population increased
more than 2 log(10)units on fresh-cut peach when stored at 20 and 25 degrees C after
48 h. At 10 degrees C only L. innocua grew more than 1 log(10)unit and it was the
only pathogen able to grow at 5 degrees C. Differences in growth occurred between
different peach varieties tested, with higher population increases in those varieties
with higher pH ('Royal Glory' 4.73+/-0.25 and 'Diana' 4.12+/-0.18). The use of common
strategies on extending shelf life of fresh-cut produce, as modified atmosphere packaging
and the use of the antioxidant substance, ascorbic acid (2%w/v), did not affect pathogens'
growth at any of the temperatures tested (5 and 25 degrees C). Minimally-processed
peaches have shown to be a good substrate for foodborne pathogens' growth regardless
use of modified atmosphere and ascorbic acid. Therefore, maintaining cold chain and
avoiding contamination is highly necessary.
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