Limited research has been done on the microbial quality of produce that has been misted at retail food settings. Therefore, our objective was to determine the microbial quality of leaf lettuce displayed at retail in misted or non-misted displays. Three grocery stores that mist and three grocery stores that do not mist lettuce were selected to obtain leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce was analyzed for aerobic plate count (APC), yeast, mold, and Enterobacteriaceae. APC ranged from 6.23 to 6.36 Log10/g for misted leaf lettuce compared to 5.20 Log10/g for non-misted leaf lettuce. Yeast counts ranged from 4.34 to 4.91Log10g for misted leaf lettuce compared to 4.04 Log10/g for non-misted leaf lettuce. Mold counts ranged from 2.88 to 4.46 Log10/g for misted leaf lettuce compared to 4.08 Log10/g for non-misted leaf lettuce. Enterobacteriaceae ranged from 6.23 to 6.53 Log10/g in misted leaf lettuce compared to 4.08 Log10/g for non-misted leaf lettuce. From this study, we have demonstrated that there is a higher amount of microorganisms on leaf lettuce under misted conditions; determination of specific pathogenic microorganisms on the misted and non-misted leaf lettuce needs to be examined.
Rossman, Rachel; Giraud, David; and Albrecht, Julie A.
"Misting Effects of the Microbial Quality of Retail Leaf Lettuce,"
RURALS: Review of Undergraduate Research in Agricultural and Life Sciences: Vol. 7
, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/rurals/vol7/iss1/1