Listeria in Mangoes By the Knights of the Round Tomato
Where do mangoes come from? WashedPlanted Washed Picked Traveled to Home market Picnic Restaurant
What is Listeria and what can it do to humans?Listeria is a bacterial genus. It can cause a serious but rare disease in humans called listeriosis. The most common symptoms are fever, muscle aches, and vomiting. It usually infects pregnant women, newborns, adults with weakened immune systems, and the elderly. Listeria can be found in soil, so it can infect vegetables. Animals can carry Listeria. It can be found in fruits, uncooked meat, and milk.
So, how are you going to solve this?Well, we found that a mix of two chemicals can kill Listeria. One is alcohol, and another is Quaternary Ammonium. Creating a wash or rinse of these chemicals will have a 99.9% chance of killing all the Listeria. Also, once consumers buy the product, keeping in under forty degrees can prevent further growth of bacteria
How could this fruit be washed? The mangoes could be washed using an industrial fruit washer (surf type). After the fruit is picked, the mango can be loaded onto a conveyor belt that then washes the fruit. In this case, we could use a mix of Quaternary Ammonium and alcohol.
Some mangoes are grown in poor countries. How would farmers pay for these chemicals and machine?Well, mangoes are grown in places like Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, so this would be a reasonable problem. If Thailand grows many mangoes, for example, then the government could implement a program to give grants to farmers so they could buy the chemicals and machines needed to go through this procedure. It would greatly reduce the risk on contaminated foods, and could be used on other agricultural items.
Has an event like this happened?Yes. In early September, 2011, this was a Listeria outbreak in cantaloupes. As of November 3, 2011, twenty nine people have been confirmed dead in outbreaks with cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado.