Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 3, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Although berries have enjoyed a relatively good record of food safety, berries have been found to be the source of several foodborne pathogenic outbreaks in recent years. It was assumed the acidity of the fruit (pH 3.0-4.5) would deter the existence of pathogenic organisms. However, cleaning harvested fruit with contaminated water, unsanitary field, harvesting and storage conditions, and improper handling by workers can all introduce microorganisms that are capable of remaining in the fresh or processed (pureed or juiced) berries for as long as 5 days in amounts above 10-5/mL. Berries sent to fresh market are hand picked and field packed and shipped without cleaning. Berries for processing are transported (sometimes at ambient temperature) to a facility where they are washed with potable water, perhaps sanitized and then sliced or frozen. Fruits sent for non-thermal processing are handled by employees, a practice which introduces additional avenues of contamination.