WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Aug. 15 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say a study showing E. coli and salmonella can live inside plant tissues means washing the outside of produce may not be enough to remove them.
Scientists at Purdue University say E. collie was found in the tissues of mung bean sprouts and salmonella in peanut seedlings after the plants’ seeds were contaminated with the pathogens before planting.
“The pathogens were in every major tissue, including the tissue that transports nutrients in plants,” food science researcher Amanda Deering said in a Purdue release Monday.
Hundreds of bacteria were found in almost every type of tissue, she said.
Proper washing would eliminate Salmonella and E. coli from the surface of foods but not inner tissues, the researchers said, but cooking foods to temperatures known to kill the pathogens would eliminate them from inner tissues.
The scientists say they’ll conduct more research in their study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to find possible ways to eliminate pathogens from inside plant tissue.