Produce - Postharvest
Listeria monocytogenes in Packinghouses
There have been several recent recalls after isolation of Listeria monocytogenes in apples, avocado, cantaloupe and stone fruit. Here are some publications that address the issue:
- Listeria monocytogenes Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Corrective Actions in At-risk Foods - July 7, 2014 (GMA) (PDF 384 KB)
- Guidelines for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes in Packing Operations (UC Pub PDF 98 KB). Published in 2000, this document provides tips on controlling the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in fruit and vegetable packinghouses.
- A newer publication was released by United Fresh in 2013. Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria for the Fresh Produce Industry. This publication is free to download but you must fill out an order form at the United Fresh Website. Scroll down here: http://www2.unitedfresh.org/forms/store/ProductFormPublic/
- Although the focus is not on produce, information on L. monocytogenes for consumers can be found here: http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/listeria/
- Almond Board of California Resources
The Almond Board of California has developed a Pathogen Environmental Monitoring Manual (PDF 823 KB) that is available in English and Spanish (PDF 1,692 KB) that outlines the tools and steps for planning and implementing such a program. Although the pathogen of concern in almonds is Salmonella the principles are the same for all pathogens. Additional available resources for implementing a Pathogen Environmental Monitoring program include a Go-to Guide in English and Spanish as well as an instructional DVD.
- Additional Reference Documents:
- Listeria monocytogenes FDA Bad Bug Book Excerpt
- Listeria monocytogenes at Foodsafety.gov http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/listeria/
- FDA Jensen Farms Environmental Assessment Final Report – provides an overview of factors that contributed to the contamination of cantaloupes with listeria monocytogenes which resulted in a multi-state outbreak of listerosis.
- Establishing Lot Size through Sanitation Clean Breaks in Produce Packing Facilities – University of Florida IFAS Extension, B. Chapman and M.D. Danyluk
Commodity-Specific Food Safety Resources
- Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness Associated with Common Berries, 1983 through May 2013 (University of Florida)
- Survival of Foodborne Pathogens on Berries (University of Florida)
- Fresh-Cut: FDA Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables - Feb. 2008
- Juices: Outbreaks of Foodborne Disease Associated with Fruit and Vegetable Juices, 1922–2010 (University of Florida)
- Tomatoes: Growth, Reduction, and Survival of Bacteria on Tomatoes (University of Florida)
- Melons: Growth, Reduction, and Survival of Bacteria on Melon Types (University of Florida)
The mission of the Postharvest Technology Center is: Reduce postharvest losses and improve the quality, safety and marketability of fresh horticultural products.
UC Postharvest Handling
A selection of publications focusing on postharvest control of microbial decay and spoilage. The emphasis of these publications is on disinfection of edible horticultural crops and guidelines for controlling Listeria monocytogenes.
- Assessment of General RPC Cleanliness As Delivered for Use in Packing and Distribution of Fresh Produce - Final Report (Trevor Suslow, UC Davis, Oct. 2014) (PDF 724 KB)
- Guidelines for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes in Small- to Medium-Scale Packing and Fresh-Cut Operations (UC Pub PDF 98k)
The goal of this publication is to offer guidelines for monitoring and minimizing the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in an agricultural packing operation and minimizing the possibility of its presence in the final food product, whether sold as a raw agricultural product or uncooked minimally processed vegetable.
- Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) for Water Disinfection Monitoring, Control, and Documentation (UC Pub PDF 168k)
- Ozone Applications for Postharvest Disinfection of Edible Horticultural Crops (UC Pub PDF 177k)
The basic properties of ozone and its use in produce disinfection are discussed in this publication.
- Postharvest Chlorination: Basic Properties and Key Points for Effective Disinfection (UC Pub PDF 76k)
- Postharvest Handling for Organic Crops (UC Pub PDF 100k)