USDA Scientists And NatureSeal Create New Antimicrobial Wash For Fresh Produce

Sometimes it takes time to find a winning formula. That’s how it was with First Step+ 10, according to Joshua Gurtler, an Agricultural Research Service scientist at the Eastern Regional Research Center, in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.

Gurtler and his collaborators at NatureSeal, Inc., tested hundreds of antimicrobial formulations, in a series of carefully designed laboratory experiments, before they found the right combination of lactic acid, fruit acids, and hydrogen peroxide for a wash that reduces the risk of food-borne pathogens contaminating fresh produce in food processing operations.

“It’s an exacting process, finding the right organic compounds and formulating them into a solution that will perform effectively,” says Gurtler.

Escherichia coli, Listeria, Salmonella and other food-borne pathogens sicken approximately 48 million people each year, or about 1 in 6 Americans. Food-borne pathogens caused an estimated 4,200 hospitalizations and 80 deaths in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A recent U.S. outbreak associated with cucumbers sickened over 765 people in 36 states and killed 4.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: AgResearch Magazine