P3-109 Practices in Brazilian Ready-to-Eat Vegetable Processing Plants Regarding Water Usage

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Exhibit Hall (Charlotte Convention Center)
Daniele Maffei, University of So Pulo, So Pulo, Brazil
Anderson Sant'Ana, University of So Paulo, So Paulo, Brazil
Bernadette D.G.M. Franco, University of So Paulo, So Paulo, Brazil
Introduction: Washing-disinfection step has an important role on ready-to-eat vegetable (RTEV) quality and safety, but it can also be a point of cross-contamination of RTEV.

Purpose: This study aimed at collecting information on the practices employed by Brazilian RTEV processing plants, especially regarding water usage.

Methods: Ten RTEV processing plants located in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were visited and a questionnaire composed of 45 questions focusing water usage in pre-washing, washing and rinsing steps was applied. The questions addressed the RTEV washing method, water temperature, disinfectant applied, reuse and discharge of water used in the washing-disinfection step.

Results: In all surveyed processing plants, raw materials are kept under refrigeration (2-8ºC) until processed. All plants performed pre-washing, and in 1, 4 and 5 plants, the pre-washing is done using running water, agitated immersion and static immersion, respectively. In 6 plants, the water used in the pre-washing step is added of chlorine-based products or a detergent. In all plants, washing-disinfection is carried out by immersion (static, 70%; and agitated, 30%) of the vegetables in water containing chlorine-based products (organic chlorine 70%, sodium hypochlorite 10%, and chloride dioxide 20%) for 2-20 min. In 3 plants, processing water is reutilized. All plants perform partial or total replacement of water (one to five times per day). Rinsing of vegetables is applied in 5 plants: 1 uses running water, 1 uses aspersion-agitation and 3 immerse them in water. Only 2 plants use chilled water (9.5 and 12.3ºC) throughout processing. The processing room is refrigerated (10ºC) in only one plant. A centrifugation step, at an average of 120 rpm for 1.5 min, is applied in 8 plants. Five plants record the temperatures during RTEV transportation to retail.

Significance: These findings constitute a building block for further assessment of cross-contamination during RTEV processing in Brazil.