How water quality effects Fresh Produce
Washing is a critical step for maintaining quality and safety of fresh-cut produce during its preparation and is often the only measure taken to reduce microbial populations and remove tissue fluids.
" Repeated use of the same tank of water to wash lettuce slices caused a rapid deterioration of water quality as indicated by the rapid increase in COD and BOD, a gradual increase in salinity, TDS, and brix and a dramatic decline in free chlorine level. The changes in water quality had a significant impact on the finished product quality and microbial growth. Samples washed with reused water with a COD level of 1860.5 mg L–1 or those without washing had significantly more LAB growth than those washed with clean water. Although wash water quality had limited impact on the visual appearance of the finished products within 14 d storage at 5 C, it significantly decreased lettuce tissue integrity and increased off-odour development. It is therefore important for the processors to closely monitor and maintain the quality of wash water during fresh-cut produce processing operations to effectively reduce microbial growth and improve product quality. Frequently changing wash water, instituting a wash–spray combination before washing to remove the majority of the tissue fluids should aid in the reduction of COD levels in the wash water and maintain better water quality as well as product quality"
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Read the complete article and research conducted on the effects of water quality on Fresh Produce.