The Produce Contamination Problem

2nd Edition

Causes and Solutions

Editors: Charles Gerba
Print ISBN: 9780124046115
eBook ISBN: 9780124046863
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 10th March 2014
Page Count: 492
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Understanding the causes and contributing factors leading to outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contamination of fresh produce continues to be a world-wide challenge for everyone from the growers of fresh-cut produce through the entire production and delivery process. Additionally researchers both at universities and in goverment agencies are facing an increased challenge to develop means of preventing these foodborne illness occurrences.

The premise of this book is that once human pathogen contamination of fresh produce occurs, it is extremely difficult to reduce pathogen levels sufficiently to assure microbiological safety with the currently available technologies based on washing with sanitizing agents. This is a consequence of microbial attachment in inaccessible sites on produce surfaces, internationlization of microbial contaminants, either preharvest or during postharvest handling and processing, and formation of resistant biofilms. A wiser strategy would be to avoid crop production conditions that result in microbial contamination to start.

These critical, problem-oriented chapters have been written by researchers active in the areas of food safety and microbial contamination during production, harvesting, packing and fresh-cut processing of horticultural crops, and were designed to to provide methods of contamination avoidance. Coverage includes policy and practices in the US, Mexico and Central America, Europe and Japan.

Table of Contents

Food Science and Technology International Series



Part 1 Produce Contamination:Scope and Sources

Chapter 1. Scope of the Produce Contamination Problem


Key aspects of the produce contamination problem

Potential sources of produce contamination

Gaps in our understanding of produce contamination

Chapter 2. Microbial Attachment and Persistence on Plants


Ecological niches and introduction into the plant environment

Outbreak investigations reveal sources and persistence of pathogens

Attachment of pathogens to plant tissue

Biofilm formation on produce surfaces

Internalization and persistence

Specific interactions of the pathogens with commodities

Plant defense response to human enteric pathogens


Chapter 3. Identification of the Source of Contamination


Overview: phases of a foodborne outbreak investigation

Specifics of environmental investigations

Training needs for environmental investigators of retail, food processing facilities, packing sheds, and farms

Resuming operations

Farm investigations

Packinghouse investigations

Vacuum cooler/hydrocooler investigation

Fresh-cut produce processor investigations

Intentional contamination

Lessons learned


Editor’s Note

Chapter 4. Manure Management


Manure use on crops

Survival of pathogens in manure

Pastures, lots, and runoff

Manure treatment technologies



Chapter 5. Bioaerosol Contamination of Produce: Potential Issues from


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2014
Academic Press
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About the Editor

Charles Gerba

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Arizona, Tucson, USA


"...useful to growers, packers, fresh-cut processers and their suppliers, especially those organisations impacted by outbreaks of foodborne illness."--FST Magazine,November 2014