Sanitization is considered as essential for the microbial control of vegetables. The aim of this study was to evaluate the sanitization procedures used in commercial restaurants located in Vitória, Brazil. The efficacy of these sanitization procedures in reducing the presence of natural microbiota and Salmonella enterica Enteritidis cells on tomatoes were evaluated. All the restaurants in this study applied the sanitization methods using containers for diluting the sanitization solution. After the sanitization treatments, a reduction in mesophilic aerobic counts, yeasts, moulds and S. enterica occurred in all the treatments. A higher reduction in microorganisms was observed after treatment with 2% acetic acid. There was no significant difference between tomatoes treated with a sodium dichloroisocyanurate solution and sodium hypochlorite for all microorganisms which were evaluated. Chlorinated compounds are the most used products but a limitation in microbial inactivation was observed in this study.
Key words: Disinfection, tomatoes, Salmonella enterica Enteritidis, acetic acid, quality control, sanitization protocols.