Consumption of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in the United States has increased every year in the past decade, because of their convenience and nutritional benefits. Unfortunately, the increasing consumption of fresh produce has been accompanied with an increase in the number of outbreaks and recalls due to contamination with human pathogens.

Recent research has demonstrated that irradiation effectively kills bacterial pathogens on fresh and fresh-cut produce, but retailer and consumer acceptance of this technology remains an obstacle to its commercial application.

Fresh fruits and vegetables carry the potential risk of contamination because they are generally grown in open fields with potential exposure to…

Table 1. Dose required to achieve a 1 log reduction for E. coli O157:H7 inoculated on or in fresh-cut produce, then irradiated with gamma rays. From Niemira and Fan (2007).

Table 2. Electrolyte leakage of fresh-cut vegetables as a function of radiation dose.

Table 3. Foods permitted to be irradiated. From FDA (2007c).

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