Abstract of Meeting Paper

Society for Risk Analysis 2001 Annual Meeting

Microbiological Contamination of Produce in Texas and Mexico - Production Methods. G. R. Acuff, A. Castillo, and E. A. Murano; Texas A&M University and University of Guadalajara, Mexico

Increasing concern over the microbiological safety of produce has raised questions regarding the effect of production practices on the incidence of pathogenic bacteria on fruits and vegetables. Quality of irrigation water, method of irrigation, worker hygiene and harvesting procedures are all considered possible significant sources of contamination. Once harvested, handling and processing at packing sheds can also impact safety of the product. Studies conducted in a collaborative study at Texas A&M University and the University of Guadalajara have evaluated the effect of various production practices on contamination of model products with Escherichia coli and Salmonella in Texas and Mexico. Hygiene and sanitation practices in packing sheds were also evaluated for possible effects on bacterial contamination, and post-harvest washing procedures were evaluated for their ability to reduce contamination. Results will be presented regarding the incidence of these bacteria in produce, irrigation water, and possible methods of decontamination during processing at the packing shed. DNA fingerprinting data of isolates from products and surfaces in packing sheds will be presented for verifying and tracing potential sources of contamination. 

Project funded by USDA CSREES.

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