One of the main challenges for the fresh-food produce industry is to ensure that the produce is free from harmful pathogens. A potential area of risk is due to cross-contamination in a sanitizing chlorine wash-cycle, where the same water is used to wash contaminated as well as non-contaminated produce. However, this is also an area where effective intervention strategies are possible, provided we have a good understanding of the mechanism of cross-contamination. Based on recent experimental work by Luo, Y. et al. A pilot plant scale evaluation of a new process aid for enhancing chlorine efficacy against pathogen survival and cross-contamination during produce wash, International Journal of Food Microbiology, 158 (2012), 133–139, we have built mathematical models that allow us to quantify the amount of cross-contamination of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from spinach to lettuce, and assessed the efficacy of the associated wash-cycle protocols.
Munther, Daniel; Luo, Yaguang; Wu, Jianhong; Magpantay, Felicia M.G.; and Srinivasan, Parthasarathy, "A Mathematical Model for Pathogen Cross-Contamination Dynamics During Produce Wash" (2015). Mathematics Faculty Publications. 155.
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