Outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria infections associated with the consumption of fresh produce has occurred with increased frequency in recent years. This study was undertaken to determine the efficacy of three commonly used disinfectants in packing-houses of Culiacan, Mexico (sodium hypochlorite [NaOCl], trichlor-s-triazinetrione [TST] and thrichlormelamine [TCM]) for inactivation of viral indicators and pathogenic bacteria inoculated onto produce wash water. Each microbial challenge consisted of 2 L of water containing approximately 8 log10 bacterial CFU ml(-1), and 8 log10 viral PFU ml(-1) treated with 100 and 300 mg l(-1) of total chlorine with modified turbidity. Water samples were taken after 2 min of contact with chlorine-based products and assayed for the particular microorganisms. TST and NaOCl were found to effectively reduce for bacterial pathogens and viral indicators 8 log10 and 7 log10, respectively (alpha=0.05). The highest inactivation rate was observed when the turbidity was low and the disinfectant was applied at 300 mg l(-1). TCM did not show effective results when compared with the TST and NaOCl (P<0.05). These findings suggest that turbidity created by the organic and inorganic material present in the water tanks carried by the fresh produce may affect the efficacy of the chlorine-based products.
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