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Pre-harvest Treatment Reduces Pathogens on Produce

Researchers at the University of Georgia tested using the food additives levulinic acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate as a pre-harvest spray on tomatoes. In on-farm tests, the spray treatment was found to significantly reduce the levels of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, salmonella, and L. monocytogenes on the surface of the tomatoes. This study found the pre-harvest spray to be an environmentally preferable and labor-saving way to control foodborne pathogens on produce, compared to post-harvest washing using chlorine. In addition, the spray can be applied using equipment that is already common on many farms.