There is generally no kill-step when preparing salad vegetables, so there is a greater risk for foodborne illness from contaminated vegetables. Some essential oils have antimicrobial activities and could provide a natural way to reduce pathogens on fresh produce. The objective of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial activity of cinnamon oil wash against Salmonella enterica serotype Newport on organic leafy greens. Organic romaine and iceberg lettuce, and organic baby and mature spinach were inoculated with Salmonella Newport and then dip treated in a phosphate buffered saline (PBS) control and 3 different concentrations (0.1, 0.3, and 0.5% v/v) of cinnamon oil. The treatment time varied at either 1 or 2min, and storage temperature varied at either 4 or 8°C. Samples were collected at days 0, 1, and 3. For romaine and iceberg lettuce, S. Newport was not recovered on day 3 for 2min 0.3% and 0.5% cinnamon oil treatments. For mature spinach, S. Newport was not recovered by day 3 for the 2min 0.3% and 0.5% 4°C treatments. For baby spinach, there was no recovery of S. Newport by day 1 for all 0.5% treatments. Overall, the cinnamon oil treatments were concentration and time dependent with higher concentrations and longer treatment times providing the greatest reduction in S. Newport population on leafy greens. In addition, the treatments had a residual effect with the greatest reduction generally seen on the last day of sampling. Storage temperature did not have a significant effect on the reduction of S. Newport. Based on the results of this study, cinnamon oil has the potential to be used as a treatment option for washing organic baby and mature spinach, and iceberg and romaine lettuces.
Keywords: Antimicrobial effects; Cinnamon oil; Multi-drug resistant; Organic leafy greens; Salmonella Newport.