Chapter 1 : Microorganisms Associated with Fruits and Vegetables

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The trend in increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is expected to continue through 2020, with fruit consumption increasing by 24 to 27% and vegetable consumption increasing by 19 to 24%. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables may have unintended consequences. Since fruit and vegetables are produced in a natural environment, they are vulnerable to contamination by human pathogens. Approximately 12% of foodborne illnesses in the 1990s were linked to fresh produce items. The importation of fresh fruits and vegetables creates unique food safety concerns. The key issue among retailers with respect to imported fresh fruits and vegetables is ensuring food safety. Viruses are a frequent cause of foodborne outbreaks, and many outbreaks of viral infection are attributed to consumption of contaminated fresh fruits and vegetables. Food handlers are often (48 of 94 outbreaks) implicated in outbreaks linked to viruses as opposed to outbreaks (20 of 102 outbreaks) involving bacteria. Humidity plays an important role in survival of viruses on fresh fruits and vegetables. Foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis and cryptosporidiosis have been associated with the consumption of fresh snow peas, raspberries, basil, and mesclun lettuce and a variety of other fresh fruits and vegetables. Measures to ensure the microbiological safety of fresh fruits and vegetables have advanced significantly in the past decade; consumption of fruits and vegetables must continue to be encouraged as part of a healthy diet.

Citation: Matthews K. 2006. Microorganisms Associated with Fruits and Vegetables, p 1-19. In Matthews K, Doyle M (ed), Microbiology of Fresh Produce. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817527.ch1
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Figure 1

Food vehicles associated with O157:H7 outbreaks. (Reprinted from J. M. Rangel, P. H. Sparling, C. Crowe, P. M. Griffin, and D. L. Swerdlow, Epidemiology of O157:H7 outbreaks, United States, 1982–2002, . 11:603–609, 2005.)

Citation: Matthews K. 2006. Microorganisms Associated with Fruits and Vegetables, p 1-19. In Matthews K, Doyle M (ed), Microbiology of Fresh Produce. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817527.ch1
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