Article

Tomato handling practices in restaurants.

National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS F-28, 4770 Buford Highway, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.
Journal of food protection (Impact Factor: 1.8). 09/2009; 72(8):1692-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In recent years, multiple outbreaks of Salmonella infection have been associated with fresh tomatoes. Investigations have indicated that tomato contamination likely occurred early in the farm-to-consumer chain, although tomato consumption occurred mostly in restaurants. Researchers have hypothesized that tomato handling practices in restaurants may contribute to these outbreaks. However, few empirical data exist on how restaurant workers handle tomatoes. This study was conducted to examine tomato handling practices in restaurants. Members of the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) observed tomato handling practices in 449 restaurants. The data indicated that handling tomatoes appropriately posed a challenge to many restaurants. Produce-only cutting boards were not used on 49% of tomato cutting observations, and gloves were not worn in 36% of tomato cutting observations. Although tomatoes were washed under running water as recommended in most (82%) of the washing observations, tomatoes were soaked in standing water, a practice not recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 18% of observations, and the temperature differential between the wash water and tomatoes did not meet FDA guidelines in 21% of observations. About half of all batches of cut tomatoes in holding areas were above 41 degrees F (5 degrees C), the temperature recommended by the FDA. The maximum holding time for most (73%) of the cut tomatoes held above 41 degrees F exceeded the FDA recommended holding time of 4 h for unrefrigerated tomatoes (i.e., tomatoes held above 41 degrees F). The information provided by this study can be used to inform efforts to develop interventions and thus prevent tomato-associated illness outbreaks.

0 Followers
 · 
174 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Multiple salmonellosis outbreaks have been linked to contaminated tomatoes. We investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections among 190 cases. For hypothesis generation, review of patients' food histories from four restaurant-associated clusters in four states revealed that large tomatoes were the only common food consumed by patients. Two case-control studies were conducted to identify food exposures associated with infections. In a study conducted in nine states illness was significantly associated with eating raw, large, round tomatoes in a restaurant [matched odds ratio (mOR) 3·1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·3-7·3]. In a Minnesota study, illness was associated with tomatoes eaten at a restaurant (OR 6·3, mid-P 95% CI 1·05-50·4, P=0·046). State, local and federal regulatory officials traced the source of tomatoes to Ohio tomato fields, a growing area not previously identified in past tomato-associated outbreaks. Because tomatoes are commonly eaten raw, prevention of tomato contamination should include interventions on the farm, during packing, and at restaurants.
    Epidemiology and Infection 01/2012; 140(11):2053-61. DOI:10.1017/S0950268811002895 · 2.49 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Fresh salsa and guacamole often contain diced raw produce, are often made in large batches, and are often poorly refrigerated, which may make them prone to contamination that can cause foodborne illness. The safety of salsa and guacamole is increasingly important as these foods gain popularity. Since 1973, local, state, and territorial health departments have voluntarily reported foodborne disease outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System (FDOSS) using a standard reporting form. FDOSS used paper-based reporting for 1973-1997 and switched to electronic reporting for 1998-2008. We reviewed all reports of outbreaks during 1973-2008 in which salsa or guacamole was reported as a vehicle. We found 136 outbreaks in which salsa or guacamole was reported as a possible vehicle, which resulted in 5,658 illnesses. Of these 136 salsa- or guacamole-associated (SGA) outbreaks additional possible food vehicles were reported for 33 (24%) outbreaks. There were no SGA outbreaks reported before 1984. Among reported outbreaks, most were caused by norovirus (24%), nontyphoidal Salmonella (19%), and Shigella (7%). Eighty-four percent of outbreaks were caused by foods prepared in restaurants or delis; of these, 19% reported ill foodworkers, and 29% reported improper storage as possible contributing factors. Among all foodborne disease outbreaks with a reported food vehicle during 1984-1997, 26 (0.9%) of 2,966 outbreaks were SGA, and during 1998-2008, 110 (1.4%) of 7,738 outbreaks were SGA. The number of reported foodborne disease outbreaks attributable to salsa or guacamole increased in the United States from 1984 to 2008, especially in later years, and especially in restaurants. Fresh salsa and guacamole require careful preparation and storage. Focused prevention strategies should reduce the risk of illness and ensure that these foods are enjoyed safely.
    Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 03/2013; DOI:10.1089/fpd.2012.1328 · 2.09 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tomato fruits are an important source of L-Ascorbic acid, which is an essential compound of human diet. The effect of the widespread practice of cold storing (5-10oC) tomato fruits was monitored to determine its impact on the concentration and redox status of L-Ascorbic acid. Total L-Ascorbic acid levels were well maintained in both attached fruits and cold treated fruits, while in other treatments its levels were considerably reduced. However, low temperature storage conditions enhanced the expression of most genes coding for enzymes involved in L-Ascorbic acid biosynthesis and redox reactions. The findings suggest that the transcriptional up-regulation under chilling stress conditions of most genes coding for L-Ascorbic acid biosynthetic genes galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase, GDP-D-mannose 3,5-epimerase but also for the isoenzymes of ascorbate peroxidase, monodehydroascorbate reductase, dehydroascorbate reductase enzyme, glutathione reductase that are strongly correlated to the L-Ascorbic redox status. Moreover, fruits stored at 10oC exhibited higher levels of transcript accumulation of MDHAR2, DHAR1, DHAR2, GR1 and GR2 genes, pointing to a better ability to manage chilling stress in comparison to fruits stored at 5oC.
    Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 09/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.plaphy.2014.09.009 · 2.35 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
16 Downloads
Available from
Jul 18, 2014
Available from