A study released from the Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) suggests that new techniques in the processing of frozen raspberries can further reduce the risk of certain foodborne illnesses. The study investigated the efficacy of chlorine alternatives in the elimination of norovirus, hepatitis A, and Listeria monocytogenes.
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Results of the study suggest that sanitizing treatments, such as peroxyacetic acid (PAA), could contribute to a reduced risk of contamination before raspberries are frozen and packaged through the individually quick frozen process. Currently, the raspberry industry uses chlorine spray as its primary sanitation method. The study includes data around the effectiveness of both chlorine spray and PAA spray in the inactivation of norovirus, hepatitis A, and Listeria monocytogenes.
“Our mission at IFSH at Illinois Tech is to continually seek to improve upon the processes we use to ensure food safety,” says Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, director, Center for Nutrition Research, IFSH at Illinois Tech. “While the dietary benefits of this fruit are evident, as demonstrated in our most recent findings around of their use in adults with prediabetes, this research is designed to ensure that the food industry as a whole is handling the packaging and distribution of raspberries in the safest way possible.”
The study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, also showed that sanitizing agents such as PAA decayed at a slower rate, further ensuring the safety of the fruit for longer periods of time. According to the findings, while both chlorine and PAA treatment initially reduced norovirus and Listeria risk by less than 1.0 log, the fruit treated with PAA experienced an additional reduction by 0.6 and 3.0 log in the two contaminants respectively. While the PAA-treated raspberries had a significant effect on the inactivation of norovirus and Listeria monocytogenes, neither PAA treatment nor chlorine spray were found to have an impact on hepatitis A.
The research team was led by Kaiping Deng, PhD, of the Center for Processing Innovation, in collaboration with Professor Burton-Freeman’s Center for Nutrition Research.
“This work is a great example of food safety experts working together with nutrition scientists to provide data on the best ways to maintain safety of the foods we want people eating more often,” says Dr. Deng.
To read the entire study, visit the Journal of Food Protection at https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-415.