The hope is that this will reduce E. Coli problems on the nations produce. This is a problem, more and more we see reports on the local and national news about vegetable related food poisoning so any steps to reduce this health hazard is welcome news. The product being formulated has been tested and is now in the “development” stage with a private company.
It is not yet available to farmers or consumers but I wanted to mention it to remind all of you about the importance of washing your produce if you are using chemicals or even manure in your garden. One reason I fully support and highly recommend that each gardener have their own compost operation is that good compost has no E. Coli which means one less thing to worry about! Even still I recommend that you wash all produce you get from the garden and ALWAYS WASH store bought produce! Even if you do not wash it in chlorinated water, it should still be washed.
Most large scale farming operations use 1.5 to 2.0% hydrogen peroxide/water solution in vegetable sanitation yet we still see E. Coli popping up all over the place so do not count on the farmers or grocery store to wash your lettuce and apples, do it yourself!
Interestingly the FDA does not recommend washing fruits and veggies with soap, detergent, bleach or commercial produce washes. But for a safe measure, they do recommend these tips to help keep produce safe:
- Handle produce with care to minimize bruising.
- Wash in cold water.
- Dry off any excess water.
- Keep produce that is supposed to be kept cool in the refrigerator (The FDA recommends a fridge setting of 40 degrees F or below).
- Get rid of fruits and vegetables that look as if they are going bad.
With that in mind I recommend that in addition to the above your always:
Wash your hands, as well as all preparation surfaces and utensils that have previously come into contact with raw poultry, meat, and eggs, before preparing vegetables.
Washing vegetables well should be enough to kill salmonella.
By cooking any food product, including vegetables, the risk of contracting a bacteria-related infection goes down tremendously; however, is not eliminated.
Below is an excerpt from the original report:
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist in Pennsylvania has developed a sanitizing wash that could reduce the number of food borne illnesses caused each year by E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria from fresh-cut produce.
Dike Ukuku, a food technologist at the ARS Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit in Wyndmoor, Pa., has developed a solution that works better than water, chlorinated water, or hydrogen peroxide at ridding surface bacteria from produce. The solution rids cantaloupes, honeydew melons, and other produce of bacteria that migrate on to cut pieces.
Each year about 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick; 128,000 are hospitalized; and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The wash, which Ukuku calls “Lovit,” could be formulated into a spray and used by food processors, supermarkets, restaurants, and anyone concerned about food safety. Ukuku has published a study highlighting its effectiveness, has filed a patent application, and has a commercial partner interested in marketing it.
In the study, Ukuku inoculated the rinds of cantaloupes with E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. He washed them for 5 minutes in either Lovit (his treatment), hydrogen peroxide or chlorinated water. He allowed them to dry before cutting them into pieces. He then stored some pieces from each of the treatments in plastic tubs at room temperature (68 degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 hours, and others at chilled temperatures of either 41 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 days.
The results showed Lovit to be the most effective treatment of the three wash treatments, and it reduced pathogen levels to below detection levels required by food safety standards. The study was published in the Journal of Food Protection in July 2015.