December 14, 2011
VALENCIA, SpainPoor handling of fruits and insufficient cleaning of juicing equipment in the foodservice setting can stimulate bacterial contamination that can result in a foodborne illness outbreak, according to a new study published in the Food Control Journal.
Researchers at the University of Valencia collected 190 batches of squeezed orange juice from different catering locations and analyzed their microbiological content on the same day. The results revealed 43% of the samples exceeded the Enterobacteriaceae levels deemed acceptable by food regulations in Spain and Europe. In addition, 12% of samples exceeded mesophilic aerobic microorganism levels. Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella was found in 1% and 0.5% of samples, respectively.
The researchers found some juices that were kept in metal jugs presented "unacceptable" levels of Enterobacteriaceae in 81% of cases and in 13% of cases with regard to mesophilic aerobic bacteria. However, when the freshly squeezed juice is served in a glass, the percentages fell to 22% and 2%, respectively.
Juicers and juicing machines have a large surface area and many holes and cavities that can promote microbial contamination, which is picked up by the juice as it is being prepared. The researchers recommend juicers are cleaned and disinfected properly; the same goes for the jugs in which the juice is stored although its consumption is better as and when it is squeezed.
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