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General Science

General Science

Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense

Author(s): Beuchat LR, Ryu JH

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Abstract In the past decade, outbreaks of human illness associated with the consumption of raw vegetables and fruits (or unpasteurized products produced from them) have increased in the United States. Changes in agronomic, harvesting, distribution, processing, and consumption patterns and practices have undoubtedly contributed to this increase. Pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum, and Bacillus cereus are naturally present in some soil, and their presence on fresh produce is not rare. Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Campylobacter jejuni, Vibrio cholerae, parasites, and viruses are more likely to contaminate fresh produce through vehicles such as raw or improperly composted manure, irrigation water containing untreated sewage, or contaminated wash water. Contact with mammals, reptiles, fowl, insects, and unpasteurized products of animal origin offers another avenue through which pathogens can access produce. Surfaces, including human hands, which come in contact with whole or cut produce represent potential points of contamination throughout the total system of growing, harvesting, packing, processing, shipping, and preparing produce for consumption. Treatment of produce with chlorinated water reduces populations of pathogenic and other microorganisms on fresh produce but cannot eliminate them. Reduction of risk for human illness associated with raw produce can be better achieved through controlling points of potential contamination in the field; during harvesting; during processing or distribution; or in retail markets, food-service facilities, or the home.
This article was published in Emerg Infect Dis and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense

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