Microbial Concentrations on Fresh Produce Are Affected by Postharvest Processing, Importation, and Season
Abstract:In the United States, the proportion of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with consumption of contaminated domestic and imported fresh fruits and vegetables (produce) has increased over the past several decades. To address this public health concern, the goal of this work was to identify and quantify factors associated with microbial contamination of produce in pre- and postharvest phases of the farm-to-fork continuum. From 2000 to 2003, we collected 923 samples of 14 types of produce (grown in the southern United States or in the northern border states of Mexico) from 15 farms and eight packing sheds located in the southern United States. To assess microbial quality, samples were enumerated for Escherichia coli, total aerobic bacteria, total coliforms, and total Enterococcus. Most produce types had significantly higher microbial concentrations when sampled at the packing shed than when sampled at the farm. In addition, we observed seasonal differences in the microbial concentrations on samples grown in the United States, with higher mean indicator concentrations detected in the fall (September, October, and November). We developed a predictive, multivariate logistic regression model to identify and quantify factors that were associated with detectable concentrations of E. coli contamination on produce. These factors included produce type (specifically, cabbage or cantaloupe), season of collection (harvested in the fall), and packing step (bin, box, conveyor belt, or turntable). These results can be used to identify specific mechanisms of produce contamination and propose interventions that may decrease the likelihood of produce-associated illness.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA 2: Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA 3: Department of Food Science, College of Life Science and Agriculture, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607, USA 4: National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Georgia 30341, USA
Publication date: December 1, 2008
- IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website). The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.
Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at www.foodprotection.org.
- Information for Authors
- Submit a Paper
- Subscribe to this Title
- Membership Information
- Information for Advertisers
- ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites