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Raina L. Allen, Benjamin R. Warren, Douglas L. Archer, Keith R. Schneider, and Steven A. Sargent

Multi-state outbreaks of salmonellosis due to the consumption of contaminated fresh tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) have recently occurred in the United States. This study investigated the survival of a five-serovar (serotype) Salmonella cocktail artificially inoculated onto tomato and packing line surfaces when held at various temperature and relative humidity (RH) combinations over 28 days. Packinghouse surfaces included stainless steel, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), sponge rollers, conveyor belts, and unfinished oak wood surfaces. Packinghouse climates were generated to simulate conditions in Florida during late spring (30 °C/80% RH) and fall/winter (20 °C/60% RH) months. Additionally, survival of Salmonella on tomatoes in standard ripening room conditions (20 °C/90% RH) was evaluated. Recovery of inocula was by a vigorous shake/hand rub method. After 28 days, Salmonella populations remained detectable on tomato surfaces regardless of environmental conditions. Inoculated Salmonella populations tested at spring conditions declined to undetectable levels on all packing line materials by day 11, with the exception of the unfinished oak, which reached undetectable levels by day 21. In contrast, inoculated Salmonella populations tested at fall/winter conditions declined to undetectable levels on sponge rollers and conveyor belts by day 7 and day 21, respectively. Stainless steel, PVC, and wood surfaces supported the survival of detectable populations of Salmonella over the 28-day sampling period. Results of this study demonstrate the potential for Salmonella to persist on tomato and packing line surfaces under common environmental conditions.

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Kathryn C. Taylor and Parshall B. Bush

To discern how the packing process influences pesticide residue loads on peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) fruit; postharvest, post hydrocooled, and post brushed fruit were assessed for levels of several pesticides. The packing house process reduced pesticide residue levels on fresh peaches to levels that were generally below detection limits of our assays in 1998. Carbaryl and captan residues from field packed fruit were 32.2× and 21.9×, respectively, of that found in the peel of fruit processed in the packing house in 1998. Carbaryl levels were not reduced by hydrocooling but postharvest brushing reduced pesticide residues up to 94% in fruit peel. Across processing operations and cultivars assessed in 1999, hydrocooling, hydrocooling plus brushing, and brushing alone removed 37%, 62%, and 53%, respectively, of the encapsulated methyl parathion residues from fruit peel. Hydrocooling had the greatest impact on phosmet removal from peel, reducing levels by 72.5%. After hydrocooling, phosmet was 5.7× following brushing in one-half of the subsequent samples. This increase occurred at all three farms, suggesting that periodic cleaning of brushes may be necessary to prevent later contamination of peach peel with pesticides. In the only example in which propiconazole residue remained on peaches at picking, it was removed most effectively (69%) by the brushing operation. Nearly 31% of the propiconazole was removed in the hydrocooler. The packing process before shipment to retail outlets was generally effective in the removal of pesticides that may be present on peel at the time of harvest. Assessment of pesticide residue levels in peach flesh was uniformly below the levels of detection in our assays, suggesting that the classes of pesticide analyzed in peaches were not transepidermal.

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Krista C. Shellie

An instrumented sphere (IS) was used to identify high-impact areas on seven grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) packing lines in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The packing-line unit operations having the greatest percentage of high impacts were 1) the sizer, 2) when #2 fruit were separated by hand at the grading table, 3) when fruit were dumped from the harvest bin onto the packing line, and 4) when fruit dropped into a collection bin at the end of the packing line. The number of high impacts and the amount of cushioning in high-impact areas varied among the seven packing sheds. The amount of red dye visible on the surface of fruit collected from the end of each shed's packing line did not correspond with each shed's percentage of high impacts or with incidence of decay during fruit storage. The severity of impacts and degree of cushioning provided in these Texas packing sheds were comparable to that reported for 39 Florida packing houses. This study illustrates the usefulness of the IS for enhancing individual packing-line operations and for comparing individual shed performance to packing-line operations in other agricultural production regions.

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Marcos D. Ferreira, Steven A. Sargent, Jeffrey K. Brecht, and Craig K. Chandler

et al., 1991 ). Impact bruising results from a sudden sharp force, for example when a fruit falls onto another fruit or onto a hard surface on a packing line ( Garcia et al., 1988 ) or when an object strikes the fruit ( Crisosto et al., 1993

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James F. Thompson, Joseph A. Grant, Eugene M. Kupferman, and Jerry Knutson

Damage (pitting and bruising) to sweet cherries during packing line operations was evaluated in a 3-year study conducted in California, Washington, and Oregon. A large percentage of cherries sampled before packing developed damage symptoms (28% in 1992 and 35% in 1993 and 1994), suggesting that damage is imparted during growing, harvest, or transport to the packing house. Packing line operations caused an average of 39% pitting and 10% bruising. The greatest damage was imparted by cluster cutters (20% pitting) and shower type hydrocoolers (19% pitting). Results from this study demonstrate that packing line damage can be reduced by slowing fruit speed in cluster cutters, operating cluster cutters at high fruit-throughput rates, and reducing water drop height in shower hydrocoolers.

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Xiuxiu Sun, Elizabeth Baldwin, Chris Ference, Jan Narciso, Anne Plotto, Mark Ritenour, Ken Harrison, Dave Gangemi, and Jinhe Bai

packing line and 56 fruits (average fruit weight 260 g and diameter 85 mm) were packed in each of 15, 29-L commercial perforated boxes that were then stored at 10 °C for 3 d before applying ClO 2 treatments. Chamber test with microbial inoculated fruit

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G. González-Aguilar, R. Báez-Sañudo, R. Troncoso-Rojas, M. Báez-Sañudo, and E. Bringas-Taddei

México is an important producer of mangos for exportation. Losses occurring during postharvest due to poor handling practices, spoilage and injury during transportation reduces the quality of the fruit for shipment overseas. A hot water immersion treatment of 46C for 90 min and film wrapping of the fruit were studied to evaluate losses that occur during the sorting and packing of the fruit for market abroad. Cultivars of mangos included in the study were Tomy Atkins, Hayden, Kent, and Keitt. Fruits were selected from different points in the packing line before and after the hot water treatment and were stored at 10C and 20C for 30 days. Additionally, fruits were divided in subgroups and packed individually in low density polyethylene bags. Fruits were evaluated every 10 days for color, weight, firmness and injuries. Most severe losses occurred when the fruits were selected later in the packing line. Hot water treatment caused severe discoloration on the fruits. Film packing decreased weight loss, improved firmness, and retarded ripening and onset of spoilage.

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Dale E. Marshall and Roger C. Brook

Green bell pepper is a popular vegetable in the United States. Michigan is the 5th-leading production area, producing 480,000 cwt of green bell peppers in 1994. The tender skin of the green bell pepper covers a crisp, fragile flesh that is easily bruised, cracked, or crushed. During commercial harvest and postharvest handling operations, bell peppers undergo several transfers, each of which has the potential for causing mechanical injury to the pepper fruit. These mechanical injuries include abrasions, cuts, punctures, and bruises. Mechanical injuries and bruises are defects that affect the market grade of the peppers, and may reduce pepper quality and subsequent shipping life. The impacts occurring in a pepper field and on a Michigan packing line were measured using an Instrumented Sphere. Field tests attempted to duplicate how pickers harvest bell peppers into 5-gal pails and empty them into empty wooden tote boxes. Other tests were on an entire packing line. Most bruising on packing lines occurred at the transfers between different pieces of equipment when the peppers fell or were propelled from conveyors onto uncushioned metal plates or rollers. Several transfer points were identified as areas where much of the mechanical damage occurred and improvements were suggested to the packer. Bell peppers were found to bruise on their shoulders; therefore, shoulder bruises may be used as an indicator of injury. The major problems with packing lines were excessive height differences between line components, lack of control of rolling velocity, and lack of cushioning on hard surfaces.

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James D. Hansen

Durations of ultrasound treatments were evaluated for efficacy in removing or destroying external pests of apples (Malus sylvestris var domestica). Egg hatch of codling moth (Cydia pomonella; Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), was inversely related to time of ultrasound exposure, although egg mortality was less than 60% after 45 min of treatment. Mortality of twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae; Acari: Tetranychidae), and western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis; Thysanoptera: Thripidae), was directly related to ultrasound durations; adding detergent to the ultrasound bath increased treatment efficacy. Ultrasound did not remove san jose scale (Quadraspidiotus perniciosus; Homoptera: Diaspididae), from the fruit surface. Ultrasound, which can be incorporated in the packing line, shows promise as a postharvest phytosanitation treatment against external pests.

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Dale E. Marshall and Roger C. Brook

The tender skin of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) covers a crisp, fragile flesh that is easily bruised, cracked or crushed. During commercial harvest and postharvest handling operations, bell peppers undergo several transfers, each of which has the potential for causing mechanical injury to the peppers. These mechanical injuries include abrasions, cuts, punctures, and bruises, which affect the market grade and reduce pepper quality and subsequent life. Previous research on handling fresh vegetables and fruits has shown that the instrumented sphere (IS) is a tool that can help identify potentially damaging impacts during harvest and postharvest handling operations. For the study reported, the IS was used to evaluate the damage potential for peppers being hand harvested, and for peppers on a packing line. Studies in the field attempted to duplicate how pickers harvest peppers into pails and then empty them into empty wooden pallet bins. For the packing line evaluated, the diverging roll-sizer had the greatest potential for damage. Adding cushioning to hard surfaces and removing the metal support from under the cross-conveyor would help to reduce pepper damage. Cushioned ramps, and hanging flaps or curtains should be used to help reduce acceleration and drop height between pieces of equipment. All locations should be cushioned where peppers impact a hard surface, and drop height should be limited to 3 inches (8 cm) on a hard surface and 8 inches (20 cm) on a cushioned surface. The speed of all components in the system should be checked and adjusted to achieve full line flow of peppers without causing bruising. Workers must receive instruction on the significance of bruising during the harvest and postharvest operations.