Reduction of poliovirus 1, bacteriophages, Salmonella montevideo, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 on strawberries by physical and disinfectant washes

J Food Prot. 2003 Feb;66(2):188-93. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-66.2.188.


The efficacy levels of different physical and chemical washing treatments in the reduction of viral and bacterial pathogens from inoculated strawberries were evaluated. Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Montevideo, poliovirus 1, and the bacteriophages PRD1, phiX174, and MS2 were used as model and surrogate organisms. Chemicals readily available to producers and/or consumers were evaluated as antimicrobial additives for the production of washes. The gentle agitation of contaminated strawberries in water for 2 min led to reductions in microbial populations ranging from 41 to 79% and from 62 to 90% at water temperatures of 22 and 43 degrees C, respectively. Significant reductions (> 98%) in numbers of bacteria and viruses were obtained with sodium hypochlorite (50 to 300 ppm of free chlorine), Oxine or Carnebon (200 ppm of product generating "stabilized chlorine dioxide"), Tsunami (100 ppm of peroxyacetic acid), and Alcide (100 or 200 ppm of acidified sodium chlorite) washes. Overall, 200 ppm of acidified sodium chlorite produced the greatest reductions of microorganisms. Hydrogen peroxide (0.5%) was slightly less effective than free chlorine in a strawberry wash and caused slight fruit discoloration. Cetylpyridinium chloride (0.1%) was effective in the reduction of bacterial species, while trisodium phosphate (1%) was effective against viruses. The consumer-oriented produce wash Fit was very effective (> 99%) in reducing the numbers of bacteria but not in reducing the numbers of viruses. Another wash, Healthy Harvest, was significantly less effective than Fit in reducing bacterial pathogens but more effective for viruses. The performance of automatic dishwashing detergent was similar to that of Healthy Harvest and significantly better than that of liquid dishwashing detergent. Solutions containing table salt (2% NaCl) or vinegar (10%) reduced the numbers of bacteria by about 90%, whereas only the vinegar wash reduced the numbers of viruses significantly (ca. 95%).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / drug effects
  • Bacteriophages / growth & development
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Escherichia coli O157 / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli O157 / growth & development
  • Food Microbiology
  • Fragaria / microbiology*
  • Fragaria / virology
  • Humans
  • Poliovirus / drug effects
  • Poliovirus / growth & development
  • Salmonella / drug effects
  • Salmonella / growth & development
  • Temperature
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Water / pharmacology


  • Disinfectants
  • Water