Prediction of Escherichia coli O157:H7, salmonella, and listeria monocytogenes growth in leafy greens without temperature control

Abhinav Mishra, Miao Guo, Robert L. Buchanan, Donald W. Schaffner, Abani K. Pradhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between 1998 and 2008, leafy greens outbreaks accounted for 22.3% of foodborne outbreaks in the United States. Several studies on the growth of bacteria at different temperatures have been conducted; however, there is a need for the prediction of bacterial growth when leafy greens are transported without temperature control. Food products, when taken out of refrigeration, undergo a temperature change, with the rate of temperature change being proportional to the difference in the temperature of food and its surroundings. The objective of this study was to estimate the growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica, and L. monocytogenes in leafy greens during transportation from retail to home at ambient temperatures ranging from 10 to 40°C for up to 10 h. Experiments were conducted to monitor the temperature increase in fresh spinach taken from refrigeration temperature to ambient temperature. The growth of pathogens was predicted using these changing temperature profiles with the three-phase linear model as a primary model and the square root model as the secondary model. The levels of E. coli O157:H7, S. enterica, and L. monocytogenes increased by 3.12, 2.43, and 3.42 log CFU at 40°C for the 10-h period, respectively, when no lag phase was assumed. If leafy greens are not kept out of refrigeration for more than 3 h, when the air temperature is 40°C or more, pathogen growth should be less than 1 log CFU. These results would assist in developing recommendations for food transportation without refrigeration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • Leafy greens
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Pathogen growth
  • Salmonella


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