SURVIVAL AND ATTACHMENT OF SALMONELLA ENTERICA ON SELECT LOW MOISTURE NUT SURFACES
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Salmonella can contaminate various nuts and lead to human foodborne disease outbreaks and related product recalls in the United States. Nuts have been identified as an increasingly common vector for human salmonellosis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of environmental factors and Salmonella enterica serotypes on the survival and attachment of this pathogen on the surface of low moisture, raw in shell nuts. Two S. enterica strains (Enteritidis and Typhimurium) were individually tested on three different food samples (almonds, hazelnuts and black peppers) at 4°C or 25°C for up to 14 days. The storage relative humidity was maintained at 20±2% throughout the study. Nut samples were collected at 0, 1, 3, 7 and 14 days. The population of bacteria was calculated based on the plate count data. The results showed that S. Typhimurium attached and survived better than S. Enteritidis on almonds, hazelnuts and black peppers at both 4 and 25°C. A lower storage temperature led to a better survival of Salmonella on raw nuts during storage. The surface characteristics of hazelnuts resulted in the least Salmonella attachment compared to almond and black pepper.