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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENOMICS OF FOODBORNE PATHOGENS Title: Fruits and Vegetables That Make You Sick…What’s Going On?

Author
item Mandrell, Robert

Submitted to: Society for General Microbiology
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: June 6, 2007
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
Citation: Mandrell, R.E. 2007. Fruits and Vegetables That Make You Sick…What’s Going On?. Society for General Microbiology. Microbiology Today. 34(08)112-115

Interpretive Summary: If you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden, a friend’s garden, or from a local farmer’s market operating during the peak of the growing season, you are aware of the wonderful appearance, smell and taste of fresh produce picked and consumed the same day. This is certainly a special treat, but an abundant year-round supply of high quality fresh leafy vegetables (a variety of lettuces, baby spinach) and other produce intended for raw consumption by large populations in the United States and Europe is dependent upon land in special geographic regions, land having ideal soil and climate conditions. This year-round supply also is due to the vision, innovation and hard work of people developing new ways to meet the demand of ever expanding populations for fresh produce. This includes also the processors who must clean, package and deliver rapidly fragile food items large distances to consumers in many parts of the world. Minimally processed, bagged produce has been a new innovation to help meet this growing demand. This article describes some of the aspects that may be leading to increased contamination of raw produce.

Technical Abstract: If you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden, a friend’s garden, or from a local farmer’s market operating during the peak of the growing season, you are aware of the wonderful appearance, smell and taste of fresh produce picked and consumed the same day. This is certainly a special treat, but an abundant year-round supply of high quality fresh leafy vegetables (a variety of lettuces, baby spinach) and other produce intended for raw consumption by large populations in the United States and Europe is dependent upon land in special geographic regions, land having ideal soil and climate conditions. This year-round supply also is due to the vision, innovation and hard work of people developing new ways to meet the demand of ever expanding populations for fresh produce. This includes also the processors who must clean, package and deliver rapidly fragile food items large distances to consumers in many parts of the world. Minimally processed, bagged produce has been a new innovation to help meet this growing demand. This article describes some of the aspects that may be leading to increased contamination of raw produce.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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