2021 journal article
Listeria monocytogenes Survival on Peaches and Nectarines under Conditions Simulating Commercial Stone-Fruit Packinghouse Operations
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 18(17).
Recent recalls of stone fruit due to potential Listeria contamination and associated foodborne outbreaks highlight the risk for pathogen transmission through stone-fruit consumption. Particularly, surface contamination of fruits increases the risk for cross-contamination of produce during processing and storage. This highlights the need for quality control in stone fruits intended for consumption. To develop effective food safety practices, it is essential to determine the critical factors during stone-fruit processing that influence Listeria survival. Therefore, this study evaluated the ability of Listeria to survive on peaches and nectarines under simulated stone-fruit loading and staging, waxing and fungicide application and storage conditions. The results of our study indicate that current stone-fruit handling conditions do not favor Listeria growth. However, once fruit is contaminated, Listeria can survive on the fruit surface in significant numbers under current processing conditions. Therefore, there is a need to develop and implement preventive controls at the stone-fruit packinghouse to prevent Listeria contamination and deter pathogen persistence.