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Nuts and Grains: Microbiology and Preharvest Contamination Risks

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  • Authors: Pardeepinder K. Brar1, Michelle D. Danyluk2
  • Editors: Kalmia E. Kniel3, Siddhartha Thakur4
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Citrus Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL 33850; 2: Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Citrus Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL 33850; 3: Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE; 4: North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC
  • Source: microbiolspec April 2018 vol. 6 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0023-2018
  • Received 01 March 2018 Accepted 19 March 2018 Published 27 April 2018
  • Michelle D. Danyluk, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Low-water-activity foods have been involved in recalls and foodborne disease outbreaks. Increased consumption; better detection methods and reporting systems; improved surveillance, trace-back, and ability to connect sporadic foodborne illnesses; and inadequate implementation of food safety programs are some of the likely reasons for the increase in frequency of recalls and outbreaks linked to dry foods. Nuts and grains can be contaminated with foodborne pathogens at any stage during production, processing, storage, and distribution. Focusing on preharvest contamination, the various potential sources of contamination include soil, animal intrusion, contaminated harvesting equipment, harvest and preharvest handling, storage conditions, and others. The low water activity of nuts and grains prevents the growth of most foodborne pathogens on their surfaces. The long-term survival of bacterial foodborne pathogens (, O157:H7, and ) on dry foods has been documented in the literature for different nut types. Preventing contamination is the key to avoiding foodborne disease risks linked to dry foods. The implementation of good agricultural practices and other food safety systems provides a proactive approach to address concerns thoroughly. A plethora of research is available on preventing the growth of mycotoxin-producing fungi on the surface of nuts and grains. Milling is an effective mechanism to reduce the microbial load on grains. This review focuses on providing information about associated foodborne microorganisms, preharvest contamination sources, and good agricultural practice recommendations for nuts and grains.

  • Citation: Brar P, Danyluk M. 2018. Nuts and Grains: Microbiology and Preharvest Contamination Risks. Microbiol Spectrum 6(2):PFS-0023-2018. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0023-2018.

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/content/journal/microbiolspec/10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0023-2018
2018-04-27
2018-11-19

Abstract:

Low-water-activity foods have been involved in recalls and foodborne disease outbreaks. Increased consumption; better detection methods and reporting systems; improved surveillance, trace-back, and ability to connect sporadic foodborne illnesses; and inadequate implementation of food safety programs are some of the likely reasons for the increase in frequency of recalls and outbreaks linked to dry foods. Nuts and grains can be contaminated with foodborne pathogens at any stage during production, processing, storage, and distribution. Focusing on preharvest contamination, the various potential sources of contamination include soil, animal intrusion, contaminated harvesting equipment, harvest and preharvest handling, storage conditions, and others. The low water activity of nuts and grains prevents the growth of most foodborne pathogens on their surfaces. The long-term survival of bacterial foodborne pathogens (, O157:H7, and ) on dry foods has been documented in the literature for different nut types. Preventing contamination is the key to avoiding foodborne disease risks linked to dry foods. The implementation of good agricultural practices and other food safety systems provides a proactive approach to address concerns thoroughly. A plethora of research is available on preventing the growth of mycotoxin-producing fungi on the surface of nuts and grains. Milling is an effective mechanism to reduce the microbial load on grains. This review focuses on providing information about associated foodborne microorganisms, preharvest contamination sources, and good agricultural practice recommendations for nuts and grains.

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