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Chengyan Yue and Cindy Tong

purchased by Minnesota consumers might be from California or New Zealand. Finding out why certain consumers prefer organically grown or locally grown produce and their willingness to pay (WTP) for fresh produce with different attributes is important for

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Florence A. Becot, Virginia Nickerson, David S. Conner and Jane M. Kolodinsky

( USDA, 2011 ), and better tracking of outbreaks ( Mead et al., 1999 ). Nevertheless, improving food safety of fresh produce should remain a focus of all actors involved in the production, distribution, and preparation of fresh produce. GAPs were

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James M. Monaghan

Recent European outbreaks of Salmonella thompson and S. newport have been associated with salad rocket (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa) and head lettuce (Lactuca sativa), respectively. These cases emphasize the need for good agricultural and manufacturing practices for fruit and vegetables that are to be consumed raw, and the potential for large outbreaks related to fresh produce that is distributed widely. In contrast to North America, legislation in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Europe has moved responsibility for fresh produce food safety away from government and into the supply chain. In the U.K. it is the retailers, notably Marks and Spencer with the Field to Fork codes of practice, who are driving the food safety agenda through the development of their own standards. It is retailer technologists who have been the main motivators and educators of suppliers to apply risk management to limiting or preventing microbial contamination of fresh produce.

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Dennis Osborne*, Douglas C. Sanders and Donn R. Ward

This project directly addresses national food safety “priority issues”. Project design incorporates food safety and food chain security as focal points of educational efforts, then initiates practical, producer-level research, teaching, and extension whereby food handling and safety issues are addressed in a systems context. The overall Project goals are (1) to deliver information about Fresh Produce Food Safety (“FPFS”) programs and principles defined in the FDA Guide to fresh fruit and vegetable handlers in the Southeastern United States, (2) to provide hands-on individual state assistance with FPFS program implementation, and (3) to determine the influence of packing line procedures on the survival of foodborne pathogens. Part of the education envisioned under the new grant is introducing the concepts of recall and traceback. These concepts, proposed for incorporation into a new Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) act being discussed for adoption, possibly in 2006, essentially allows for the traceback of food to its point of origin. Osborne and others published a new protocol last month as “Model Recall Program for the Fresh Produce Industry” and want to help growers stay ahead of the curve on these issues. As a consequence of this project, the region's commercial fresh fruit and vegetable handlers will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to establish effective GAPs programs. Developing new GAPs programs to fit the specific needs of the packing and chain store operations in the Southeastern United States can significantly reduce the possibility of illness originating from Southeastern fresh fruit and vegetables. Delivering such programs will serve as a valuable training tool for fresh produce industries nationwide.

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Paisan Loaharanu and Guy J. Hallman

Irradiation for Quality Improvement, Microbial Safety and Phytosanitation of Fresh Produce. Rivka Barkai-Golan and Peter A. Follett. 2017. Academic Press, London, UK. 286 pages, with illustrations. $127.50, eBook ISBN: 9780128110263, paperback ISBN

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K. Tano, L.Z. Lee, F. Castaigne and J. Arul

Use of modified atmosphere (MA) as an adjunct to low temperature can be effective method for prolonging the shelflife of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, if storage temperature fluctuates, anoxic conditions can result and, consequently, the fresh produce quality can deteriorate rapidly. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of temperature fluctuation on the atmosphere inside the package and on the quality of packaged produce. Mushrooms (A. bisporus, U3 Sylvan 381) were packaged in rigid containers (4 liters) fitted with diffusion windows to obtain an atmosphere of 5% O2 and 10% CO2 at 4C. Temperature fluctuation had a major impact to the atmosphere inside package. During the first fluctuation sequence, O2 level depleted to 1.5% and CO2 increased to 18%. When the temperature returned to 4C during the next sequence, CO2 level fell back to 10%, but O2 level remained at 1.5%. The quality of mushrooms stored under temperature-fluctuating conditions was severely affected, as indicted by the extent of browning, loss of texture, and level of ethanol in the tissue compared to mushrooms stored at constant temperature. It was clear from this experiment that under temperature fluctuation, even it occurs once, can seriously compromise the benefits of MA packaging and safety of the packaged product. It is thus necessary that MA packaging compensate for the additional permeability required that is caused by storage temperature fluctuations.

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D. C. Sanders, L. M. Reyes, D. J. Osborne, D. R. Ward and D. E. Blackwelder

The Southeastern Fresh Produce Food Safety Training Program has been training extension agents across the southeastern U.S. since 2000. This program has utilized a variety of methods including group case study to enhance learning and promote team work. Multistate trainings have fostered collaboration between states and institutions. One goal of the program was to produce a method for agents to provide training that was repeatable and easy to implement. As a result, two videos were produced for use in training field and packinghouse workers. These videos were an English language good agricultural practices (GAPs) video entitled Bridging the GAPs: From the Farm to the Table and a Spanish language hand-washing video entitled ¡Lave sus Manos: Por Los Niños! This program has been very effective, but has faced challenges due to language barriers. Many field and packinghouse crews were mixed in terms of language with some crew members speaking only English while others spoke only Spanish. As a result, Spanish speakers were unable to access the information in the good agricultural practices video while English speakers were unable to access information in the hand-washing video. The solution was to produce a bilingual training aid that included both sets of information and has been compiled into a DVD containing the footage of both of the original videos in both languages. For the Spanish version of the GAPs video and the English of the hand-washing video, the audio of the video's original language was left at a low sound level and the audio of the alternate language was added. These DVDs are currently being distributed to extension programs in all of the cooperating states with the aim of reaching growers who want to start a food safety plan.

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Dennis J. Osborne, Douglas C. Sanders, Donn R. Ward and James W. Rushing

Between 2000 and 2004, a 12-state consortium in the southeastern United States used a “train-the-trainer” effort to introduce good agricultural practices (GAPs) to the region's fresh produce growers, packers, and consumers. Supported by the National Food Safety Initiative, the consortium created and implemented training by using a program and supporting materials specifically applicable to conditions and commodities in southern states. Because several factors distinguish the southeastern U.S. fresh produce industry from that of other regions in the U.S., a region-specific training program addressing distinguishing factors was needed. Distinguishing factors include: 1) southeastern U.S. producers are typically grower-packers, with some notable exceptions in Florida and Texas; 2) most such producer entities are seasonal, have their own packinghouse operation, are small-scale in that they pick what they grow and pack and often use migrant and seasonal labor; 3) modern worker training, sanitary practice, and facilities and supervisory expertise are either somewhat limited or completely lacking; and 4) the use of seasonal and migrant labor dictates the use of Spanish language interpreters and training. To meet fresh produce food safety training needs for the region, project leaders created a 329-page training program and associated PowerPoint presentation-containing compact disc, nine four-page crop-specific brochures relating GAPs to crop “groups,” a Spanish language handwashing video and a new model recall program for the fresh produce industry. The leveraging effect of this train-the-trainer effort ultimately reached nearly 20,000 people in this multi-disciplinary, multi-state, integrated project, thus expanding and reinforcing regional cooperative extension efforts.

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Melinda McVey McCluskey

Students are often unable to relate the vegetables and fruits consumed as a snack or part of a meal to the plant parts discussed in botany class. Therefore, an exercise was developed for an introductory horticulture course to increase a student's awareness of botany in everyday life. Fresh produce was brought in from local gardens, grocery stores, or farmers markets. Vegetables and fruits were selected that are consumed for their roots, stems, leaves, flower, fruit, and seeds. As each vegetable or fruit was introduced, students named the plant and plant part. As each part was identified it was “dissected” to show the taxonomic features. The different fruit types, i.e., berry, hesperidium, pepo, drupe, and pome were explained. Students were encouraged to taste all vegetables and fruits as they were prepared. Most students sampled the produce as it was passed around the group. Students easily recognized much of the produce, i.e., carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, peas, oranges, and broccoli. The second part of the exercise exposed students to vegetables and fruits that were unfamiliar. Most of the students had little exposure to the more exotic fruits and vegetables that are now available. New vegetables and fruits that students said they would add to their diet include jicama, pomegranate, and star fruit.

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Roberta M. Hammond, Dean Bodager, Kathleen V. Ward and Alan Rowan