Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 28, 2012
Publication Date: January 4, 2013
Citation: Patel, J.R. 2013. HACCP implementation in the production of fresh-cut produce. [abstract].
The number of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to fresh produce has increased in the last few years. Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella have been implicated as major bacterial pathogens of concern to produce safety. Microbial contamination of produce may occur anytime during the production, harvesting, and processing/packing. Since there is no “kill-step” during packing of raw produce, a promising way to reduce foodborne illness is to track the pathogens to their source, understand their persistence and survival mechanism(s), and minimize the contamination at the farm level. Proper sanitation is crucial in the fresh produce chain, from farm to fork. This includes using adequately treated compost manure as fertilizer, proper sanitary systems and hand-washing facilities for farm workers, frequent sanitation of harvest equipment, clean transportation vehicles, and good hygiene in the processing facilities. Since water is frequently implicated in fresh produce-associated outbreaks, the quality of irrigation water at the farm level and the quality of water used after harvesting is very important. Adequate temperature control is required during processing, transportation and storage of fresh produce to prevent microbial growth. Effective produce wash treatment with chlorine or other alternative antimicrobial is helpful to reduce cross contamination of fresh produce. In general, adoption of integrated food safety systems (microbiological criteria for GAPs, SSOPs, and HACCP) will help reduce produce-borne outbreaks and potential produce recalls.