University of California

Book Reviews

 Title The Produce Contamination Problem. Causes and Solutions
 Author/Editor Karl R. Matthews, Gerald M. Sapers, Charles P. Gerba
 Additional Information 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0-12-404611-5, 467pp.

Academic Press/Elsevier, San Diego CA USA;available in electronic or hard copy versions

 Review This 2nd edition is a substantial update and expansion of the 2009 book. It should be of interest to both US and international professionals interested in fresh produce food safety issues.  The book is edited and written by 33 food safety experts. The opening statement by editor Matthews points to the authors’ straight forward scientific approach:  “The premise of the book is that once human pathogen contamination of fresh produce occurs, it is extremely difficult to reduce pathogen levels sufficiently with currently available technologies based on washing with sanitizing agents to assure microbio­logical safety”.  The book is organized into four main sections.  The 8 chapters in section one discuss specific sources of contamination (manure, water, air and wildlife), and how the contamination occurs during production and handling of fresh produce.  There are 6 chapters in the second section on particular product groups (leafy vegetables, melons, sprouts, tomatoes, tree nuts and berries), the food safety outbreaks associated with them, and the special characteristics of the products and production practices that contributed to the outbreaks.  There are 2 chapters in a third section; one discusses produce contamination in Mexico and Central America, and the second presents the regulatory background and issues in Europe.  The 3 chapters in the remaining section discuss technologies to reduce contamination of fresh produce. One chapter presents an overview of washing and sanitizing agents including the major currently used sanitizers but also approved alternatives, and washing equipment.  One chapter discusses advanced technologies for detection of microorganisms and control technologies including cold plasma irradiation, pulsed light, high pressure processing, sonication and biological controls.  A final wrap-up chapter also includes recommendations for further work.  This book puts many current food safety issues into context and is a very authoritative, well referenced, well written and timely reference for those involved in food safety research and education.

 Date Feb 2016
 Reviewed By Marita Cantwell
College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
Postharvest Technology Center
Department of Plant Sciences

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