Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Professor Stacy Freeman

Second Reader

Professor Holly Keizer

Third Reader

Mrs. Melissa Carozza


Background: Food-borne illness can be easily spread through contamination of many different sources. Oftentimes people are aware of the dangers when it comes to raw meat, poultry, and eggs. However, many people are not aware that food-borne illnesses can occur due to produce. Washing produce can significantly reduce bacteria content, but which washing method really works the best?

Objective: The purpose of this experiment was to look at the difference in bacterial content among properly washed, washed, and unwashed fresh produce from the local grocery store.

Settings: This experiment was conducted in the microbiology lab at Ouachita Baptist University during the fall 2019 semester.

Methods: Fruits and vegetables were purchased from the grocery store and swabbed for bacteria. Each produce item was measured as a control group, washed group, and FDA washed group. All swabs were transferred to petri plates and incubated at 37ºC for 18 hours. Each plate was counted to see the amount of bacteria colonies on each one.

Results and Discussion: For the grapes control group over 208 bacteria colonies were found including mold. For the washed group approximately 110 colonies were found including mold. For the FDA-approved washing method, only 49 colonies were found and no mold was detected.

Conclusion: The FDA-approved method for washing fruits and vegetables showed to be the most effective in eliminating the amount of bacteria on fresh produce purchased from the store.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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