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Preharvest Farming Practices Impacting Fresh Produce Safety

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  • Authors: Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez1, Achyut Adhikari2
  • Editors: Kalmia E. Kniel3, Siddhartha Thakur4
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; 2: School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; 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-0022-2018
  • Received 28 February 2018 Accepted 12 March 2018 Published 20 April 2018
  • Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Advancements in agriculture and food processing techniques have been instrumental in the development of modern human societies. Vast improvements in agronomic practices, handling, and processing have allowed us to produce and preserve mass quantities of food. Yet despite all these innovations and potentially as a consequence of these mass production practices, more and more outbreaks of human pathogens linked to raw and processed foods are identified every year. It is evident that our increased capacity for microbial detection has contributed to the greater number of outbreaks detected. However, our understanding of how these events originate and what agronomic, packaging, and environmental factors influence the survival, persistence, and proliferation of human pathogens remains of scientific debate. This review seeks to identify those past and current challenges to the safety of fresh produce and focuses on production practices and how those impact produce safety. It reflects on 20 years of research, industry guidelines, and federal standards and how they have evolved to our current understanding of fresh produce safety. This document is not intended to summarize and describe all fruit and vegetable farming practices across the United States and the rest of the world. We understand the significant differences in production practices that exist across regions. This review highlights those general farming practices that significantly impact past and current food safety issues. It focuses on current and future research needs and on preharvest food safety control measures in fresh-produce safety that could provide insight into the mechanisms of pathogen contamination, survival, and inactivation under field and packinghouse conditions.

  • Citation: Gutierrez-Rodriguez E, Adhikari A. 2018. Preharvest Farming Practices Impacting Fresh Produce Safety. Microbiol Spectrum 6(2):PFS-0022-2018. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0022-2018.


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Advancements in agriculture and food processing techniques have been instrumental in the development of modern human societies. Vast improvements in agronomic practices, handling, and processing have allowed us to produce and preserve mass quantities of food. Yet despite all these innovations and potentially as a consequence of these mass production practices, more and more outbreaks of human pathogens linked to raw and processed foods are identified every year. It is evident that our increased capacity for microbial detection has contributed to the greater number of outbreaks detected. However, our understanding of how these events originate and what agronomic, packaging, and environmental factors influence the survival, persistence, and proliferation of human pathogens remains of scientific debate. This review seeks to identify those past and current challenges to the safety of fresh produce and focuses on production practices and how those impact produce safety. It reflects on 20 years of research, industry guidelines, and federal standards and how they have evolved to our current understanding of fresh produce safety. This document is not intended to summarize and describe all fruit and vegetable farming practices across the United States and the rest of the world. We understand the significant differences in production practices that exist across regions. This review highlights those general farming practices that significantly impact past and current food safety issues. It focuses on current and future research needs and on preharvest food safety control measures in fresh-produce safety that could provide insight into the mechanisms of pathogen contamination, survival, and inactivation under field and packinghouse conditions.

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Challenges within the fresh produce continuum

Source: microbiolspec April 2018 vol. 6 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0022-2018
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Examples of VFSs evaluated for eliminating the pollutants

Source: microbiolspec April 2018 vol. 6 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0022-2018

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