Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 29, 2007
Publication Date: September 11, 2007
Citation: Luo, Y. 2007. Challenges facing the Industry and Scientific Community in Maintaining Quality and Safety of Fresh-Cut Produce [abstract]. Technical Abstract: The fresh-cut produce industry has been rapidly expanding in the last two decades, and is one of the fastest growing food industries in the United States. Freshness, nutrition, and convenience are major factors contributing to increases consumer demand and rapid industry expansion. However, recent food illness outbreaks associated with the consumption of packaged fresh-cut produce has also made headline news worldwide. Unlike intact fruits and vegetables, fresh-cut produce sustains substantial tissue injury during processing, and is thus more susceptible to microbial growth and quality deterioration. Unlike traditionally processed food, fresh-cut products consist of living tissues and are processed and marketed as "ready-to-eat" but without a microbial killing step. In addition, fresh produce grows in open fields and potential contamination with human pathogens can occur anywhere from farm to table. All of those factors make fresh-cut produce have a short shelf life as well as being vulnerable to food safety issues. This invited presentation will discuss the challenges facing the industry and scientific communities. Issues involved in maintaining both quality and safety of fresh-cut produce, their current status and future research directions will be emphasized.