To address this issue, a study was conducted to monitor the fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella on produce (cantaloupe, honeydew melon, carrots, and celery) that were subjected to brushing or peeling using common kitchen utensils.
Removal of similar levels of Salmonella from carrots was accomplished by peeling and by brushing, but significantly greater removal of E. coli O157:H7 from carrots was accomplished by peeling than by brushing under running water (P < 0.05). Brushing removed significantly fewer pathogens from contaminated cantaloupes than from other produce items (P < 0.05), suggesting that the netted rind provided sites where the pathogen cells could evade the brush bristles. A Sparta polyester brush was less effective than a scouring pad for removing Salmonella from carrots (P < 0.05). In all cases, brushing and peeling failed to eliminate the pathogens from the produce items, which may be the result of contamination of the utensil during use. High incidences of contamination (77 to 92%) were found among peelers used on carrots or celery, the Sparta brush used on carrots, and the scouring pad used on carrots and cantaloupe. Of the utensils investigated, the nylon brush had the lowest incidence of pathogen transference from contaminated produce (0 to 12%). Transfer of pathogens from a potentially contaminated Sparta brush or peeler to uncontaminated carrots did not occur or occurred only on the first of seven carrots processed with the utensil. Therefore, risk of cross-contamination from contaminated utensils to uncontaminated produce may be limited.
Role of brushes and peelers in removal of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella from produce in domestic kitchens
Journal of Food Protection®, Number 9, September 2015, pp. 1624-1769
Erickson, Marilyn C.; Liao, Jean; Cannon, Jennifer L.; Ortega, Ynes R.