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FEATURE ARTICLE

Safer Salads

Contaminated fruits and vegetables are more common than ever. Why? And what can consumers do to protect themselves?

Jorge M. Fonseca, Sadhana Ravishankar

Figure%201.%20Salmonella%20entericaClick to Enlarge ImageNews of E. coli-tainted produce has blared from the headlines in recent years, leading to widespread concern about the safety of consuming raw fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the public-health debate often neglects the science behind the outbreaks. What are the real risks involved? Some answers come from authors Jorge M. Fonseca and Sadhana Ravishankar, specialists in the field of microbiological crop-safety research. They detail the recent spate of illnesses caused by produce-borne pathogens and reveal that there's no single source of contamination that explains them all—sanitation can break down during growth, harvest, washing, storage, transport or display of fruits and vegetables. The authors conclude with a discussion of best practices from the field to the table, and they describe new research into postharvest treatments that may minimize consumer risk in the near future.


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