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Adv Food Nutr Res. 2009;57:155-208. doi: 10.1016/S1043-4526(09)57004-0.

Recent advances in the microbial safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Foodborne illness outbreaks linked to fresh produce are becoming more frequent and widespread. High impact outbreaks, such as that associated with spinach contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7, resulted in almost 200 cases of foodborne illness across North America and >$300 m market losses. Over the last decade there has been intensive research into gaining an understanding on the interactions of human pathogens with plants and how microbiological safety of fresh produce can be improved. The following review will provide an update on the food safety issues linked to fresh produce. An overview of recent foodborne illness outbreaks linked to fresh produce. The types of human pathogens encountered will be described and how they can be transferred from their normal animal or human host to fresh produce. The interaction of human pathogens with growing plants will be discussed, in addition to novel intervention methods to enhance the microbiological safety of fresh produce.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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