Growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes on fruit and vegetable surfaces during postharvest handling

A review article published in the J. Food protection (Volume 83,1) summarized many published studies that reported the growth and/or survival of L. monocytogenes on intact fruit and vegetable surfaces. The majority of studies reviewed focused on melons, leafy greens, berries, or sprouts.

The review showed that the outer surface of fruits and vegetables was not a favorable environment for the growth of L. monocytogenes. Nevertheless, L. monocytogenes growth and/or survival was observed under some handling and storage conditions along the supply chain. The survival was dependent on surface characteristics, commodity, temperature, relative humidity, storage matrix (e.g., package, container), and starting inoculum concentration. Intact produce held at ≥20°C had the highest L. monocytogenes growth rates. The identification of produce commodities that support L. monocytogenes growth and/or survival at various conditions along the supply chain can assist the industry in managing L. monocytogenes contamination risk.

Image: Fruits-vegetables @

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