Effect of post inoculation drying procedures on the reduction of Salmonella on almonds by thermal treatments.
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Since two outbreaks of salmonellosis were linked to the consumption of almonds in 2001 and 2004, the study of pathogen inactivation kinetics in almonds has been encouraged, often by conducting inoculated challenge studies. The inoculation method could affect the results of such challenge studies, because of the possible increase of moisture on the almonds resulting from a wet inoculation procedure, which may result in a potential overestimation of the effectiveness of treatments used to pasteurize almonds in industrial settings. Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis phage type 30 (PT30) isolated from an almond-linked outbreak was inoculated on nonpareil almonds and dried by accelerated (drying the inoculated almonds at 37C for 12h) and conventional (drying inoculated almonds overnight at room temperature) drying methods, before treating the almonds with hot water (blanching) at 88C or hot oil (oil roasting) at 127C. The Weibull model explained the death of this pathogen on almonds better than log-linear model for oil roasting, whereas both log-linear and Weibull models were similarly effective for blanching. For blanching, the D values for Salmonella Enteritidis PT30 were 12.7 and 10.7s with accelerated and conventional drying, respectively. For oil roasting, the b-values were 4.59 and 4.18s with accelerated and conventional drying, respectively. Based on the models, it was concluded that the accelerated drying process resulted in a significantly smaller reduction in Salmonella Enteritidis PT30 on almonds in comparison to conventional drying for both blanching and roasting. Although conventional drying led to significantly lower D or b - values (depending on the model), this difference is not likely to affect the current processing parameters used by the almond industry.