Organic Acids

Organic acids such as lactic and acetic acids are effective antibacterial agents [97] and are classified by the FDA as GRAS [98,99] (21CFR184.1005; 21CFR184.1061). Lactic acid dips and sprays are used commercially to decontaminate animal carcasses containing E. coli O157:H7, L. monocytogenes, and salmonella [100] (see additional information from Purac America, Inc., www.purac.com). Lactic acid rinses might have applications for the decontamination of fruits and vegetables. A 5% acetic acid wash was reported to reduce the population of E. coli O157:H7 on inoculated apples by about 3 logs [31]. In another study, apples that had been inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 were treated with 5% acetic acid at 55°C for as long as 25 minutes. While the E. coli population was greatly reduced in the apple skin and stem areas, as many as 3 to 4 logs survived in the calyx tissue [101]. In a more recent study, application of 2.4% acetic acid to apple disks that had been inoculated with S. mbandaka or S. Typhimurium resulted in population reductions of 1.1 and 1.4, respectively [102]. However, the combination of 5% acetic acid with 5% hydrogen peroxide yielded a population reduction approaching 4 logs. It is not clear whether organic acid treatments would produce off-flavors or discoloration in treated produce.

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