Improving Microbiological Safety of Cantaloupes & Leafy Greens

Using Post-Harvest Decontamination Technologies

(Webinar length:  1h 27m)

Overview:

There have been numerous foodborne illness outbreaks or product recalls involving cantaloupes and leafy greens. For example, a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in 2011 was linked to a batch of Colorado produced cantaloupes that resulted in 147 confirmed cases and 37 deaths. In 2012, cantaloupes grown in Indiana contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium were connected with over 140 cases and 2 deaths.  In 2012 there has been a product recall linked to contaminated, or suspected contaminated, leafy greens every 1-2 months. Listeria, along with Salmonella have been implicated in outbreaks involving leafty greens although E coli O157:H7 and other STEC are becoming more common.  To enhance the microbiological safety of fresh produce in general there has been a focus on good agricultural practice that aims to prevent contamination being introduced into the chain. However, given that cultivation of fresh produce is an open system it is impossible to ensure pathogen-free crops as evidenced by the on-going outbreaks and recalls. It is now being acknowledged that a more effective approach is to apply post-harvest decontamination technologies that go beyond simple washing.

The following webinar will provide an overview on the pathogens encountered on fresh produce and sources. An overview of recent outbreaks linked to cantaloupes and leafy greens will be described. Current methods to reduce field acquired contamination will be reviewed along with limitations. Alternative technologies based on chemical, physical and thermal methods for produce decontamination will be reviewed along with the advantages & disadvantages of each approach.

 Areas covered in the webinar:

  • Overview of pathogens and sources of contamination associated with fresh produce
  • Description of recent foodborne illness outbreaks linked to cantaloupe and leafy greens 
  • Limitations of current interventions to reduce field acquired contamination.
  • Alternative technologies for decontaminating fresh produce – Advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Conclusions and future directions. 

Who will benefit from this webinar:

  • QA and QC Managers
  • Production Managers
  • Food Scientists and Technologists
  • Food Safety Personnel
  • HACCP Coordinators
  • Government Food Inspectors
  • Corporate and Plant Microbiologists  
  • Processing Engineers
  • Operations Supervisors and Managers
  • Laboratory Managers


Presenter - Dr. Keith Warriner

Dr. Keith Warriner is currently an Associate Professor within the Department of Food Science at University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Warriner received his BSc in Food Science from the University of Nottingham, UK and PhD in Microbial Physiology from the University College of Wales Aberystwyth, UK. He later went on to work on biosensors within the University of Manchester, UK and subsequently returned to the University of Nottingham to become a Research Fellow in Food Microbiology. He joined the Faculty of the University of Guelph in 2002. 

During the last fifteen years in the field of microbiology and food safety research, Dr. Warriner has published more than 100 papers, book chapters, patents, and conference abstracts. He has broad research areas encompassing development of decontamination technologies, biosensors for biohazard detection, and more fundamental research on the interaction of human pathogens with plants. One notable research accomplishment was the development of a decontamination treatment for sanitizing seeds destined for sprout production and a further process based on Advanced Oxidation Process for inactivating pathogens on fresh produce. Current research in the area is focused on developing biocontrol strategies based on using a combination of antagonistic bacteria and bacteriophage to reduce levels of human pathogens at the primary production stage.

  • Item #: 0830cLeafyGreens
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