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Exposure of Fresh-cut Leafy Greens to Abusive Temperatures During Transit and Retail Storage and Display

W. Brown (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) K. Vorst (Iowa State University) (L. Gorman Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) S. Steinmaus (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) and E. Ryser (Michigan State University)

 

There have been very limited time and temperature profiles published for the U.S. indicating the conditions experienced by fresh-cut, bagged leafy greens during transport and distribution. The objective of this study was to monitor and fully characterize temperatures during the transport, and retail storage and display, of fresh-cut leafy greens. For the transportation studies, a total of sixteen shipments were monitored for trailer temperature. Shipments were from Salinas, CA or Yuma, AZ and, in most cases, were cross-country. Twenty-four or thirty temperature loggers were placed on six pallets and along the sidewalls during the loading of each trailer. In five of the sixteen shipments, an additional sensor with probe was placed on each monitored stack and the probe was inserted 24 inches into the center of the stack. For the retail studies, five major grocery chains participated in the study and stores were monitored in San Luis Obispo, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Wichita, Kansa; Columbus, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Temperature recorders were placed in open-front display-cases and were attached every 4 feet and at 5 levels within the cases. Sensors were also placed in the holding room located at each store’s receiving dock. Data were analyzed for the effect of location within a trailer, display case or holding room, on a pass/fail basis where any sensor in a trailer recording temperatures above 5 degrees C subjected the load to rejection, and for duration of abuse above 5, 7.2 or 10 degrees C in a trailer, display case or holding room.

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