Effiacy of household agents in the removal of e. coli from produce
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Common household chemicals may provide a safe an inexpensive option for use as agents to wash fresh produce and reduce the population of foodborne pathogens such as E. coli. A comparison of the efficacy of two household agents on the reduction in E. coli population is reported here. A 0.01% concentration of bleach solution and a 5.00% acetic acid solution were used as washing agents on spinach and tomatoes that had been inoculated with E. coli. Comparisons of total E. coli and total aerobic bacteria following various washing techniques were made. Spinach treated with bleach or acetic acid produced little to no reduction of total bacteria in the population. Tomatoes treated with acetic acid showed a 30-95% reduction in total aerobic bacteria, while tomatoes treated with bleach showed no growth of bacteria following a 48 hour incubation period. Future work will investigate the use of a genetically modified E. coli isolate as an inoculum source to more effectively and efficiently distinguish E. coli from total aerobic bacteria.