The germination conditions of sprouted vegetables consisting of relatively high temperatures and humidity, low light, and abundance of nutrients are ideal for pathogen survival and growth. The continual occurrence of outbreaks and recalls associated with sprout vegetables indicate additional measures are needed to improve product safety. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a mixture of Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus acidilactici, and Pediococcus pentosaceus (LPP) against Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella on alfalfa sprouts during 5 days of sprouting at 20°C and its influence on sprout quality. Alfalfa seeds were inoculated with L. monocytogenes or Salmonella (each at 1 and 3 log CFU/g) and LPP (7 log CFU/g). Populations of LPP were maintained at 7.5 to 8.0 log CFU/g throughout sprouting. LPP had a significant effect on the growth of L. monocytogenes and Salmonella (P < 0.05). After 5 days of sprouting, populations of L. monocytogenes at an initial concentration of 1 and 3 log CFU/g of seeds treated with LPP were approximately 4.5 and 1.0 log CFU/g less than the untreated seeds, respectively. Populations of Salmonella at an initial concentration of 1 and 3 log CFU/g were 1.0 log CFU/g less than the control. LPP did not compromise the yield, seedling length, or pH of the sprouts.
Listeria populations on LPP-treated sprouts were 4.5 log less than untreated seeds.
LPP treatment reduced Salmonella populations by 1 log compared with controls.
LPP did not influence sprout quality.