Critical Analysis

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Effect of Organic Acids, Hydrogen Peroxide and Mild Heat on Inactivation of Escherichia Coli O157:H7 on Baby Spinach (Critical Analysis)


Vegetables and fresh fruits are vital elements of a healthy and balanced diet. A considerable amount of increase in the consumption of vegetables and fresh fruits has been witnessed in the recent years. But an increased demand for ready to eat and minimally processed fresh foodstuffs has resulted in an upsurge in the occurrence of outbreaks of food borne sicknesses related with the consumption of these foods. Concerns about the safety of fresh produce have heightened due to these outbreaks (Altekruse et al, 1997).

Escherichia Coli

Escherichia coli (generally referred to as E. coli) are bacteria that usually reside in the guts of healthy individuals and animals, mostly cow. Majority of the strains of E. coli are found to be harmless but a specific strain of Escherichia coli known as E. coli 0157:H7 is one of the few that causes sickness. Even though majority of the strains are harmless, this strain produces a powerful toxin and can cause serious diseases such as hemolytic uremic syndrome. It resides in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, cattle. An individual becomes infected with E. coli 0157:H7 by ingesting the bacteria. This can happen when an individual consumes food which has become contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. Transmission also can occur directly from individual to individual in families, custodial institutions and child care centers.


Several outbreaks of food borne sicknesses have been recently linked with minimally processed baby spinach contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7. Vegetables are generally washed commercially through chlorinated water, but this washing procedure can escort to the development of carcinogenic substances and has limited efficacy. Present study was carried out to ascertain the effects of hydrogen peroxide and organic acids in combinations of each other as well as alone, with or without mild heat, on the inactivation of E. coli O157:H7 on baby spinach. Mild heat refers to a temperature between 40 and 500 C.

This paper established that there was lack of considerable disparity between the bactericidal effect of DI and 200 ppm CW water at varying temperatures i.e. 22, 40 and 500 C. This finding was in harmony with the findings reported by Beuchat (1999). Beuchat observed that DI water or 200 ppm chlorine solution were equally effective in eradicating or destroying E. coli O157:H7 on the leaves of spinach. In ...
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