Agricultural Water Use in U.S. Fresh Produce Growing Operations—Part I: Pathogen Presence and Persistence

Susan M. Leaman, Michelle D. Danyluk, Channah M. Rock, Sonia Salas, Laura K. Strawn, Trevor V. Suslow, De Ann Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Throughout the United States, diverse water sources and delivery systems are used in fresh produce production from pre-planting through post-harvest operations. These operations include soil preparation, irrigation, agrochemi-cal mixing, microclimate protection from freeze injury and sunscald, dust abatement on farm roads, harvesting activities, and cleaning and sanitizing of field equipment. Water used in produce operations comes from groundwater, surface water, or collected rainwater and is accessed from wells, rivers, creeks, streams, reservoirs, ponds, lakes, irrigation districts, municipal supplies, and private purveyors. Human pathogens that have been detected in water include bacteria, parasites, and viruses, many of which can survive in water for extended periods of time posing a food safety risk when contaminated water is used on or near produce crops. To fulfill mandates in the Food Safety Modernization Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed risk-based regulations for agricultural water that are expected to be finalized within 2024. This review, the first part of a series on agricultural water in produce production, gives an overview of how agricultural water is used during production activities throughout produce growing regions in the United States and summariz-es recent and seminal research relevant to pathogen prevalence and persistence in agricultural water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-247
Number of pages20
JournalFood Protection Trends
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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