The role of the consumer in the reduction of Listeria monocytogenes in lettuces by washing at home

Autores UPV
Año
Revista FOOD CONTROL

Abstract

Lettuce is highly appreciated for its nutritional properties; however microbial contamination through the food chain and its raw consumption may jeopardize these known benefits to the diet. The objective of this study was to determine the role of the consumer at the stage of washing at home, in relation to the probability of illness due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in lettuce. Survival curves of L. monocytogenes after washing (dipping with and without addition of bleach, and washing under a running tap) were studied. A mathematical model for each washing method was calculated by fitting experimental data. The obtained models were used to estimate the probability of illness after washing at home. Results show that although consumers can only deal with low loads of L. monocytogenes, their role is essential to reduce the normal contamination level of lettuces and ensure their safety.