MICROBIAL ECOLOGY AND SAFETY OF FRESH ON-FARM ORGANICALLY GROWN PRODUCE
Title: Microbial safety of tropical and sub-tropical fruit. in Volume 1 – General Physiology, Quality and Handling of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits, Postharvest Biology & Technology of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits
Submitted to: Post-harvest biology and technology of tropical and sub-tropical fruits
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2010
Publication Date: September 28, 2011
Citation: Sharma, M., Buchanan, R., Luo, Y. 2011. Microbial safety of tropical and sub-tropical fruits. in Volume 1 – General Physiology, Quality and Handling of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits, Postharvest Biology & Technology of Tropical and Sub-tropical Fruits. Post-harvest biology and technology of tropical and sub-tropical fruits. p. 288-309.
Interpretive Summary: Tropical fruits may be contaminated with bacterial and viral pathogens that cause human illness. There are numerous instances of outbreaks of human illness from contaminated melons, mangoes, unpasteurized orange juice, and avocados, and other fruits. Some of the pathogens involved in these outbreaks are Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, norovirus, and hepatitis A. There are numerous factors that can lead to the contamination of tropical and sub-tropical fruits, including contaminated water, soils, human handling, and wash water. Intergrated food safety plans using chemical or physical decontamination methods, and appropriate good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices, and hygienic practices are essential to providing safe tropical and sub-tropical fruits for consumption.
This chapter describes past outbreaks, potential routes of contamination for specific, potential interventions, and operational procedures associated with tropical and sub-tropical fruits. Various pre-harvest sources can result in contamination of fruits; and survival and growth of pathogens on whole and fresh cut fruits are variable depending on the biotic and abiotic factors such as indigenous microorganisms, storage temperature and humidity etc. The effectiveness of chemical, physical, and biological treatments designed to eliminate pathogens on these fruits can be limited by the surface topography, hydrophobicity, organic material present on fruits, and other confounding factors. Integrated food safety management programs, and pathogen prevention and decontamination approaches in supply chain must be utilized to make tropical and sub-tropical fruits safe for consumption