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Journal: Journal of food protection


The literature on hand washing, while extensive, often contains conflicting data, and key variables are only superficially studied or not studied at all. Some hand washing recommendations are made without scientific support, and agreement between recommendations is limited. The influence of key variables such as soap volume, lather time, water temperature, and product formulation on hand washing efficacy was investigated in the present study. Baseline conditions were 1 mL of a bland (nonantimicrobial) soap, a 5-s lather time, and 38°C (100°F) water temperature. A nonpathogenic strain of Escherichia coli (ATCC 11229) was the challenge microorganism. Twenty volunteers (10 men and 10 women) participated in the study, and each test condition had 20 replicates. An antimicrobial soap formulation (1% chloroxylenol) was not significantly more effective than the bland soap for removing E. coli under a variety of test conditions. Overall, the mean reduction was 1.94 log CFU (range, 1.83 to 2.10 log CFU) with the antimicrobial soap and 2.22 log CFU (range, 1.91 to 2.54 log CFU) with the bland soap. Overall, lather time significantly influenced efficacy in one scenario, in which a 0.5-log greater reduction was observed after 20 s with bland soap compared with the baseline wash (P = 0.020). Water temperature as high as 38°C (100°F) and as low as 15°C (60°F) did not have a significant effect on the reduction of bacteria during hand washing; however, the energy usage differed between these temperatures. No significant differences were observed in mean log reductions experienced by men and women (both 2.08 log CFU; P = 0.988). A large part of the variability in the data was associated with the behaviors of the volunteers. Understanding what behaviors and human factors most influence hand washing may help researchers find techniques to optimize the effectiveness of hand washing.

Concepts: Bacteria, Effectiveness, Escherichia coli, Thermodynamics, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Escherichia, Proteobacteria


We evaluated the effects of storage and handling conditions on the antimicrobial activity of biodegradable composite films (polylactic acid and sugar beet pulp) coated with allyl isothiocyanate (AIT). Polylactic acid and chitosan were incorporated with AIT and used to coat one side of the film. The films were subjected to different storage conditions (storage time, storage temperature, and packed or unpacked) and handling conditions (washing, abrasion, and air blowing), and the antimicrobial activity of the films against Salmonella Stanley in tryptic soy broth was determined. The films (8.16 μl of AIT per cm(2) of surface area) significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited the growth of Salmonella during 24 h of incubation at 22°C, while the populations of Salmonella in controls increased from ca. 4 to over 8 log CFU/ml, indicating a minimum inactivation of 4 log CFU/ml on films in comparison to the growth on controls. Statistical analyses indicated that storage time, storage temperature, and surface abrasion affected the antimicrobial activity of the films significantly (P < 0.05). However, the differences in microbial reduction between those conditions were less than 0.5 log cycle. The results suggest that the films' antimicrobial properties are stable under practical storage and handling conditions and that these antimicrobial films have potential applications in food packaging.

Concepts: PH, Lactic acid, Sugar, Antimicrobial, Sugar beet, Bioplastic, Thermoplastic, Polylactic acid


The usefulness of electron beam (E-beam) irradiation to increase the shelf life of whole fresh pork loin stored at 4°C has been studied. The shelf life was extended from 5 to 11 and 20 days after the application of 1 and 2 kGy, respectively. If a temperature abuse situation were to occur during product distribution (e.g., increase to 8°C), the shelf life would be extended from 3 to 8 and 15 days, respectively, after application of the same doses. When considering Listeria monocytogenes from a public health point of view, the irradiated whole fresh loin may be marketable for periods longer than 2 weeks, thus guaranteeing a practically Listeria-free product. Irradiation produced no important changes in the rheological characteristics of the meat. Although the sensory quality of irradiated meat was scored lower than the control immediately after irradiation, after 5 days in storage, irradiated meat scored higher than or not different from the control.

Concepts: Listeria monocytogenes, Shelf life


Acrylamide (AA) contents in 294 snack foods including cereal-based, root- and tuber-based, and seafood-based foods, nuts, dried beans, and dried fruits purchased in Taiwan were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in this study. The highest levels of average AA content were found in root- and tuber-based snack foods (435 μg/kg), followed by cereal-based snack foods (299 μg/kg). Rice flour-based, seafood-based, and dried fruit snack foods had the lowest average AA content (<50 μg/kg). This is the first large surveillance of AA content in snack foods in Taiwan. The results could provide important data regarding intake information from the snack foods. In addition, the results showed a great diversity of AA content in snack foods prepared from different ingredients. Rice- and seafood-based products had much lower AA than those made from other ingredients. This information could constitute a good reference for consumers to select products for healthy snacking.

Concepts: Fruit, Vegetable, Snack foods, Dried fruit, Snack food, Nut, Meal


Consumption of foods high in biogenic amines leads to an illness known as histamine, or scombrotoxin, poisoning. The illness is commonly associated with consumption of fish with high levels of histamine ( $ 500 ppm). The objective of this study was to determine and compare the heat resistance of five histamine-producing bacteria in irradiated albacore tuna loins. Heat-resistance parameters (D- and z-values) were determined for Morganella morganii, Raoultella planticola, Hafnia alvei, and Enterobacter aerogenes. D- or z-values were not determined for Photobacterium damselae, which was the most heat-sensitive organism in this study. P. damselae declined > 5.9 log CFU/g after a heat treatment of 50°C for 10 min, 54°C for 3 min, and 56°C for 0.5 min. M. morganii was the most heat-resistant histamine-producing bacteria in albacore tuna loins, followed by E. aerogenes, H. alvei, and R. planticola. M. morganii and E. aerogenes had the highest D50°C, 49.7 ± 17.57 and 51.8 ± 17.38 min, respectively. In addition, M. morganii had the highest D-values for all other temperatures (54, 56, and 58°C) tested. D- and zvalues were also determined for M. morganii in skipjack tuna. While no significant (P > 0.05) difference was observed between D54°C and D56°C of M. morganii in either albacore or skipjack tuna, the D58°C (0.4 ± 0.17 min) was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in skipjack than in albacore (0.9 ± 0.24 min). The z-values for all organisms tested were in the range of 3.2 to 3.8°C. This study suggests that heat treatment designed to control M. morganii in tuna loins is sufficient for controlling histamine-producing bacteria in canned-tuna processing environments.

Concepts: Organism, Histamine, Biogenic amine, Commercial fish, Tuna, Scombridae, Yellowfin tuna, Albacore


A survey was carried out to determine the prevalence of anisakid nematode larvae in European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) fished off the Tyrrhenian coast of central Italy. From February through July 2012, 1,490 specimens of E. encrasicolus caught in three different fishing areas (off Civitavecchia, Anzio, and Gaeta in the northern, central, and southern Lazio region of Italy, respectively) were tested for the presence of anisakid larvae, both by visual microscopic inspection and enzymatic digestion. In each of the three fishing areas, each of two sampling times produced 250 fish (with the exception of one sampling time in Gaeta that produced 240 fish). Larvae of the family Anisakidae were detected with an overall estimated prevalence of 2.3%, and each positive fish harbored a single larva. No anisakid larvae were detected in fish caught off Gaeta. Fish with larvae were significantly longer (standard length) than fish without larvae. Twenty-six larvae (74.3%) were detected by visual inspection of the viscera, eight larvae (22.8%) were detected by visual inspection of the fillets, and one larva (2.8%) was detected after digestion of pooled fillets. Molecular analysis to fully characterize the 35 detected larvae revealed 15 specimens of Anisakis pegreffii, 10 specimens of Hysterothylacium aduncum, and one hybrid genotype of A. pegreffii × Anisakis simplex. For nine specimens, no visible product was obtained after PCR amplification. The overall prevalence for A. pegreffii and H. aduncum was 1.0 and 0.7%, respectively. A comparison between fishes harboring A. pegreffii larvae and those harboring H. aduncum revealed that those with A. pegreffii were significantly heavier. The prevalence of anisakid larvae found in the present study is lower then that reported previously in E. encrasicolus collected in the Mediterranean Sea.

Concepts: Fish, Mediterranean Sea, Italy, Sicily, Tyrrhenian Sea, Anisakis, Lazio, European anchovy


Eggs or egg-based foods, either raw or undercooked, have been identified as vehicles of Salmonella outbreaks. The low numbers of Salmonella organisms in eggs makes it difficult to detect them in frequency studies. The nested-PCR (n-PCR) technique shows more sensitivity and specificity than bacteriological culture methods (BCMs). A preenrichment method followed by enrichment and n-PCR is a good alternative for the investigation of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in eggs. A total of 2,650 chicken eggs representing five commercial brands were purchased from 10 grocery stores. Ten eggs of each brand were combined in order to obtain 265 pooled samples (53 per brand). The shells and yolks of 100 pooled samples were analyzed for Salmonella, while the shells of 65 pooled samples were analyzed for L. monocytogenes, using BCM and a combined method of enrichment and n-PCR (CM-n-PCR). Sixteen eggshell pooled samples tested positive for Salmonella by CM-n-PCR, compared with only two by BCM. Three egg yolk pooled samples tested positive for this pathogen by CM-n-PCR; none tested positive by BCM. Three eggshell pooled samples tested positive for L. monocytogenes by CM-n-PCR and none by BCM. In Mexico, as in other countries, official methods for detection of Salmonella and L. monocytogenes in foods are based on standard bacteriological culture techniques. The inclusion of more sensitive methods such as the one used in the present investigation would increase the probability of detecting positive samples, particularly in those foods in which a very low number of cells is expected.

Concepts: Egg, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Chicken, Lutein, Listeria monocytogenes, Egg white, Egg yolk


A simple immunoenzymatic enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) colony check (ECC) assay was developed for the presumptive identification of priority EHEC colonies isolated on plating media from enrichment broth cultures of foods. With this approach, lipopolysaccharide extracted from a colony is spotted on the grid of a polymyxin-coated polyester cloth strip, and bound E. coli serogroup O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157 antigens are subsequently detected by sequential reactions with a pool of commercially available peroxidase-conjugated goat antibodies and tetramethylbenzidine substrate solution. Each strip can accommodate up to 15 colonies, and test results are available within 30 min. Assay performance was verified using colonies from a total of 73 target EHEC isolates covering the range of designated priority serogroups (all of which were reactive), 41 nontarget E. coli isolates including several nontarget Shiga toxin-producing E. coli serogroups (all unreactive), and 33 non-E. coli strains (all unreactive except two bacterial strains possessing O-antigenic structures in common with those of the priority EHEC). The ECC assay was reactive with target colonies grown on several types of selective and nonselective plating media designed for their cultivation. These results support the use of the ECC assay for high-throughput screening of colonies isolated on plating media for detecting priority EHEC strains in foods.

Concepts: Bacteria, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shiga toxin, Diarrhea, Foodborne illness, Enterohemorrhagic, The Grid


Despite education efforts, consumers often practice unsafe food handling and storage behaviors. Little is known about how these unsafe practices contribute to contamination of the home kitchen with foodborne pathogens. In addition, only a limited number of studies have examined the role of the kitchen as a reservoir for pathogens. The purpose of this study was to characterize microbial contamination and foodborne pathogens found in home kitchens and determine whether contamination was significantly associated with unsafe or unsanitary conditions observed in the kitchen. Swab samples were collected from food contact and preparation surfaces in homes (n = 100) in Philadelphia, PA. The samples were tested for coliforms, fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli , Staphylococcus aureus , Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria. Fecal coliforms were found in 44% of homes (most often in samples from kitchen sinks, sponges, and dishcloths), and E. coli was found in 15% of homes (mostly in samples from kitchen sinks). Nearly half (45%) of the homes tested positive for a foodborne pathogen, and 12% had multiple pathogens present in the kitchen. S. aureus was isolated from 39% of homes, most often from countertops and refrigerator door handles. Listeria spp., including L. monocytogenes and L. innocua , were present in 15% of homes, most often in samples from refrigerator meat drawers. C. jejuni was isolated from 3% of homes. Contamination with Listeria was significantly associated with higher refrigerator temperatures. The contamination of surfaces with fecal coliforms and S. aureus was significantly associated with a lack of cleaning materials: dish soap and paper or cloth towels in the kitchen, and any type of towel in the nearest bathroom. The contamination of a sponge or dishcloth with either fecal coliforms or S. aureus was predictive of other surfaces in the kitchen having the same contamination, indicating that sponges and dishcloths are both reservoirs and vectors for bacteria in the kitchen.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Gastroenteritis, Campylobacter


High-quality fish oil for human consumption requires low levels of toxic elements. The aim of this study was to compare different oil extraction methods to identify the most efficient method for extracting fish oil of high quality with the least contamination. The methods used in this study were Soxhlet extraction, enzymatic extraction, wet reduction, and supercritical fluid extraction. The results showed that toxic elements in fish oil could be reduced using supercritical CO2 at a modest temperature (60°C) and pressure (35 MPa) with little reduction in the oil yield. There were significant reductions in mercury (85 to 100%), cadmium (97 to 100%), and lead (100%) content of the fish oil extracted using the supercritical fluid extraction method. The fish oil extracted using conventional methods contained toxic elements at levels much higher than the accepted limits of 0.1 μg/g.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Redox, Carbon, Liquid, Critical point, Supercritical fluid, Supercritical fluid extraction, Extraction