Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2009
Publication Date: 4/23/2009
Citation: Annous,B. 2009. Contamination of fresh produce with human pathogens: sources and solutions [abstract]. Food Science. Sydney, Australia. p.1. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Since 1991 there have been several outbreaks of foodborne illnesses associated with the presence of human pathogens on fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. These outbreaks have led to increased concern about the prevalence of pathogens in the environment and the vulnerability of fresh produce to contamination by these pathogens, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to mandate that fresh produce and juice products be treated with a process to yield a 5 log reduction in the most resistant organisms of public concern. Current technologies available for use by the produce industry result in no more than 2 log reductions in pathogen levels and fall short of meeting FDA’s target. This presentation will discuss research on risk factors that can be avoided during growth, harvesting, and processing of fresh produce to prevent contamination, and efficacy of chemical and physical methods used in decontaminating fresh produce. This presentation will address research on interactions between pathogens and plant tissues on produce surfaces and in biofilms, and its role in developing new approaches for minimizing human pathogens in produce. Also, this presentation will discuss surface pasteurization treatment using hot water or gaseous chlorine dioxide for the control of human pathogens on fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. The discussion will include the effects of each intervention technology on product sensory quality and shelf-life, and factors which determine the applicability and limitations of such technology. Also, this presentation will discuss the development of novel Biosafety Level two (BSL-2) pilot plant processing facility at the USDA-ARS Eastern Regional Research Center. This BSL-2 facility is currently being used to validate intervention technologies with commercial scale processing equipment using produce inoculated with human pathogens.