It turns out aging does increase the risk of disease, at least in tomatoes. A new University of Florida study shows the specific variety of tomato matters along with the fruit’s ripeness. Green tomatoes resist salmonella much more than ripe red ones. The study suggests growers could reduce susceptibility to contamination during and after harvest based on variety of the fruit and by monitoring ripeness.
“Based just on the experiments we have presented, it appears that now we have a realistic chance of finding produce varieties that will be both economical for the farmers to produce and also will be more safe,” says Max Teplitski/UF soil microbiologist.
Producers and pickers often face public blame when contamination occurs, but scientists say the study shows contamination is not just linked to hygiene. “It appears while sanitation is of course critical, during the various stages of handling, that there may also be a biology behind these interactions,” Teplitski says.
UF researchers continue to monitor a greenhouse full of tomatoes to give growers information on which varieties better resist salmonella contamination.
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Source: UF/IFAS News