Foodborne outbreaks from the consumption of contaminated leafy greens are on the rise throughout the world. Leafy green products include romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, baby leaf lettuce, escarole, endive, spring mix, spinach, cabbage, kale, arugula, and chard. However, the majority of produce related outbreaks are associated with lettuce. The handling of lettuce during and immediately postharvest can have a dramatic effect on microbial safety of the product. The improper handling of product immediately after harvest can compromise the safety of leafy greens. Also, the present methods used to wash and sanitize leafy greens inevitably result in cross-contamination should a few leaves be contaminated initially. Furthermore, a multitude of measures must be employed to ensure the microbial safety of leafy greens. The action of harvesting and processing of leafy greens can also result in the release of plant exudates along cut edges. The use of novel packaging materials, packaging design, and package inserts may provide an added dimension to strategies for the control of microbes associated with leafy vegetables. Greater effort must be made to understand plant microbe interactions and the interaction between enteric pathogens and epiphytic microbes (yeast, molds, bacteria). Greater emphasis should be given to the utilization of existing technologies and the development of new technologies for tracking product from the field to retail establishments. This would facilitate rapid and precise recalls, reducing the number of human illnesses and limiting monetary loss to an entire industry.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Produce Contamination Problem|
|Number of pages||23|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2009|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)