Alternatives to pest and disease control in preharvest, and washing and processing in postharvest levels for organic produce

Aishwarya Pradeep Rao, Sadhana Ravishankar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Fresh produce is subjected to various routes of contamination, both in the fields as well as the postharvest stages. The sources of contamination of fresh produce include soil, water, dust, rainfall, manure, biosolids, improperly composted material, agricultural runoffs, animal intrusions, fertilizer, and human handling/processing. Not only has the demand for organic fresh fruits and vegetables increased, but in order to meet the demand, somewhere along the supply chain, apart from factors such as pest infiltration and wildlife encroachments, improper choices of manure, environmental factors such as air and water quality, improper handling and safety practices have also led to an increase in outbreaks associated with these commodities. Many foodborne pathogens are resistant to basic sanitization measures and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. All these factors contribute to the survival of foodborne pathogens and thus the need for constantly improving interventions is an imperative measure of food safety. The organic produce industry is limited in its options for maintaining pre- and postharvest food safety owing to the fact that only materials approved by the USDA National Organic Program can be applied during production and processing of these commodities. This may pose a risk because the chemical nature along with the concentrations of materials are heavily regulated by the USDA and may not be sufficient to control all foodborne pathogens. Appropriate alternative measures are needed for pest and disease control at the preharvest levels and for processing and washing at the postharvest levels for fresh produce to prevent future foodborne outbreaks. In commercial settings, the environmental and economic implications of any kind of measures need to be evaluated before application. The effectiveness of the sanitizer in a commercial setting, residual antimicrobial effect, presence of harmful chemical residue, effect on organoleptic properties of produce, specificity against pathogenic bacteria, and cost are all important considerations for sanitizer selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSafety and Practice for Organic Food
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128120606
ISBN (Print)9780128120613
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Foodborne pathogens
  • Fresh produce
  • Natural interventions
  • Organic
  • Phytoantimicrobials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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