Safety of Fresh and Minimally Processed Produce

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Quality and Safety".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 August 2020) | Viewed by 11303

Special Issue Editors


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Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal
Interests: microbial food safety; virulence factors in food pathogens; Listeria monocytogenes and listeriosis; Campylobacter spp. and campylobacteriosis; microbial characterization; technological improvement of traditional foods; bioconservation agents; preservation of lactic acid bacteria
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CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina – Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal
Interests: food microbiology; food safety; food quality; food biotechnology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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CBQF-Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina—Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa/Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
Interests: food science and technology; food analysis; food quality; food microbiology and safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, and the daily consumption of such produce reduces the risk of severe syndromes, such as cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. For this reason, several organizations are promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables worldwide.

Despite these scientifically validated health benefits, contaminated produce (by viruses, bacteria, or parasites) has been linked to major cases and outbreaks of foodborne diseases in recent years and has led to some of the biggest food recalls. Unless specifically sterilized, foods are not sterile. Fresh fruits and vegetables may become contaminated with pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms either during their growth in fields or greenhouses or during harvesting, postharvest handling, processing, or distribution. It is well known that washing and disinfecting produce will reduce but not eliminate surface microbial contaminants and that produce, especially cut products, allows for the growth of some pathogens even at low temperatures. Control of spoilage and pathogenic organisms in produce is a hot topic, and several approaches can be undertaken from “farm-to fork”, e.g., good agricultural practices, new or alternative processes for produce decontamination, and consumer education.

Prof. Paula Cristina Maia Teixeira
Dr. Joana Inês Bastos Barbosa
Dr. Vânia Borges Ferreira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Disinfection
  • Emerging technologies
  • Foodborne diseases
  • Fresh produce
  • Microbial contaminants
  • Microbial safety
  • Microbial spoilage
  • Minimally processed produce

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

10 pages, 623 KiB  
Communication
Microbiological and Chemical Quality of Portuguese Lettuce—Results of a Case Study
by Catarina Ferreira, Filipa Lopes, Reginaldo Costa, Norton Komora, Vânia Ferreira, Virgínia Cruz Fernandes, Cristina Delerue-Matos and Paula Teixeira
Foods 2020, 9(9), 1274; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091274 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3111
Abstract
In addition to environmental pollution issues, social concerns about the sustainability, safety, and quality of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have been increasing. In order to evaluate if there were any microbiological differences between samples of organic and conventional lettuce, a wide range [...] Read more.
In addition to environmental pollution issues, social concerns about the sustainability, safety, and quality of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have been increasing. In order to evaluate if there were any microbiological differences between samples of organic and conventional lettuce, a wide range of parameters were tested, including pathogens and indicator organisms: the enumeration of Escherichia coli; the detection of Salmonella spp.; the detection/enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes; the enumeration of lactic acid bacteria, Pseudomonas spp. yeasts and molds, and Enterobacteriaceae. This study also evaluated the chemical safety of the lettuce samples, quantifying the nitrate concentration and 20 pesticides (14 organochlorine and 6 organophosphorus pesticides). Significant differences (p < 0.05) between the conventional and organic samples were only detected for the counts of total microorganisms at 30 °C. Pathogens were absent in all the samples. The analytical method, using the quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) approach for pesticide extraction, was suitable for detecting the targeted analytes; the limit of quantification (LOQ) was between 0.6 and 1.8 µg/kg (lower than the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) established by EU legislation). In three organic lettuce samples, one organochlorine pesticide (α-HCH) was observed below the MRLs. For the samples analyzed and for the parameters investigated, except for the total mesophilic counts, the organic and conventional lettuces were not different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety of Fresh and Minimally Processed Produce)
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7 pages, 428 KiB  
Communication
Effectiveness of Consumers Washing with Sanitizers to Reduce Human Norovirus on Mixed Salad
by Eduard Anfruns-Estrada, Marilisa Bottaro, Rosa M. Pintó, Susana Guix and Albert Bosch
Foods 2019, 8(12), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8120637 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3130
Abstract
Human norovirus (HuNoV) is a foremost cause of domestically acquired foodborne acute gastroenteritis and outbreaks. Despite industrial efforts to control HuNoV contamination of foods, its prevalence in foodstuffs at retail is significant. HuNoV infections are often associated with the consumption of contaminated produce, [...] Read more.
Human norovirus (HuNoV) is a foremost cause of domestically acquired foodborne acute gastroenteritis and outbreaks. Despite industrial efforts to control HuNoV contamination of foods, its prevalence in foodstuffs at retail is significant. HuNoV infections are often associated with the consumption of contaminated produce, including ready-to-eat (RTE) salads. Decontamination of produce by washing with disinfectants is a consumer habit which could significantly contribute to mitigate the risk of infection. The aim of our study was to measure the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers in inactivating genogroup I and II HuNoV strains on mixed salads using a propidium monoazide (PMAxx)-viability RTqPCR assay. Addition of sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid, or chlorine dioxide significantly enhanced viral removal as compared with water alone. Peracetic acid provided the highest effectiveness, with log10 reductions on virus levels of 3.66 ± 0.40 and 3.33 ± 0.19 for genogroup I and II, respectively. Chlorine dioxide showed lower disinfection efficiency. Our results provide information useful to the food industry and final consumers for improving the microbiological safety of fresh products in relation to foodborne viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety of Fresh and Minimally Processed Produce)
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19 pages, 1224 KiB  
Article
Disinfection Efficacy of Slightly Acidic Electrolyzed Water Combined with Chemical Treatments on Fresh Fruits at the Industrial Scale
by Xiuqin Chen, Charles Nkufi Tango, Eric Banan-Mwine Daliri, Seong-Yoon Oh and Deog-Hwan Oh
Foods 2019, 8(10), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8100497 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4280
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of slightly acidic electrolyzed water (SAEW) combined with fumaric acid (FA) and calcium oxide (CaO) treatment on the microbial disinfection of fresh fruits including apple, mandarin, and tomato at the industrial scale. The [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of slightly acidic electrolyzed water (SAEW) combined with fumaric acid (FA) and calcium oxide (CaO) treatment on the microbial disinfection of fresh fruits including apple, mandarin, and tomato at the industrial scale. The combined treatments can significantly (p < 0.05) reduce the population of natural microbiota from the fruit surfaces and the treated samples showed good sensory qualities during refrigeration storage. In addition, decontamination of inoculated foodborne pathogens (Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes) was carried out in the laboratory, and the combined treatments resulted in a reduction ranging from 2.85 to 5.35 log CFU/fruit, CaO followed by SAEW+FA treatment that resulted in significantly higher reduction than for SAEW+FA treatment. The technology developed by this study has been used in a fresh fruit industry and has greatly improved the quality of the products. These findings suggest that the synergistic properties of the combination of SAEW, FA, and CaO could be used in the fresh fruit industry as an effective sanitizer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety of Fresh and Minimally Processed Produce)
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