BACKGROUND: The fresh-cut industry commonly uses sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) for disinfection. However, there are certain problems related to its use, and acidified sodium chlorite (ASC) could be an alternative sanitiser to replace it. There is limited research evaluating the effect of ASC on the overall quality of fresh-cut produce, especially sensory quality. In this study the decontamination efficacy and quality attribute effects of ASC on fresh-cut tatsoi after application and during storage were investigated.
RESULTS: Tatsoi baby leaves were minimally processed at 8 °C and stored under passive modified atmosphere packaging for up to 11 days at 5 and 10 °C. Low to moderate doses of ASC (100–500 mg L−1) showed an initial antimicrobial efficacy on natural microflora and Escherichia coli as effective as that of NaClO. Regarding contact time, ASC was effective in reducting the E. coli population during the first 30 s of washing, and an increase in contact time did not improve the antimicrobial effect. Sensory quality attributes were well kept for up to 11 days at 5 °C but for only 5 days at the abusive temperature of 10 °C.
CONCLUSION: ASC provides an alternative sanitising technique to NaClO for maintaining the quality and safety of fresh-cut tatsoi baby leaves for up to 11 days at 5 °C. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry