Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Product Quality and Safety".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021) | Viewed by 45224

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Interests: fresh horticulture products; post-harvest technology; food quality and safety; microbial risk assessments; foodborne illness

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Guest Editor
School of Agriculture & Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
Interests: functional foods; antioxidants; fatty acids; nutrigenomics; large animal models of human nutrition and obesity; selenium
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fresh fruits and vegetables are important key components of a healthy and well-balanced diet. The daily consumption of these products is associated with beneficial health effects including prevention of noncommunicable diseases and optimal weight management. The demand for quality fresh produce is constantly increasing around the world. However, fresh produce pose a higher risk of foodborne illness to the consumer, as they are widely consumed raw or minimally processed. Spoilage microorganisms and foodborne pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and mycotoxin-producing fungi, are mainly responsible for foodborne illness and quality loss in fresh produce. In addition, natural contaminants, heavy metals, agrochemicals such as herbicides and pesticides, veterinary drugs, packaging materials and various factors associated with the supply chain may also cause quality problems and safety concerns related to fresh produce. Hence, the production of high-quality and safe fresh crops is one of the great challenges of modern agriculture, because a combination of attributes including appearance, texture, flavour, as well as nutritional and safety aspects determines the value of fresh produce to the consumer.

To obtain safe and high-quality fresh produce, various strategies have been proposed involving on-farm environment control, post-harvest technologies and risk assessments. The prevention of foodborne illness and food quality losses relies on evidence-based research to underpin quality assurance systems that monitor the safety, nutritious properties and acceptability of fresh produce. This Special Issue aims to publish novel research findings and review papers on strategies to verify the quality and safety of fresh produce. 

Dr. Senaka Ranadheera
Prof. Dr. Robyn McConchie
Prof. Dr. Frank Dunshea
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Food quality and safety
  • Foodborne diseases
  • Horticulture
  • Post-harvest technologies
  • Pre-harvest factors

Published Papers (11 papers)

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11 pages, 1856 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Carbon Dioxide-Modified Atmosphere Packaging and Low-Temperature Storage at 13 °C on the Quality and Metabolism in Mango (Mangifera indica L.)
by Saichao Wei, Jun Mei and Jing Xie
Agriculture 2021, 11(7), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070636 - 7 Jul 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3461
Abstract
Mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) were stored under four different carbon dioxide-modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) combinations at 13 ± 1 °C to investigate their effects on moisture distribution and content, physiological metabolism, as well as fruit quality. The mangoes stored under C7 combination [...] Read more.
Mangoes (Mangifera indica L.) were stored under four different carbon dioxide-modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) combinations at 13 ± 1 °C to investigate their effects on moisture distribution and content, physiological metabolism, as well as fruit quality. The mangoes stored under C7 combination (7% CO2 + 3% O2 + 90% N2) maintained respiration rate, inhibited the increase in 1-aminocyclocarboxylic acid-1-carboxylic acid synthase (ACS) content, and slowed down the senescence process of the fruit. The mangoes subjected to C7 combination also maintained higher firmness, protopectin, and free moisture content. The C7 combination suppressed the increase in soluble pectin and malondialdehyde (MDA) content, with the lowest weight loss. The yellowing rate of the mango pulp preserved under the C7 combination condition was significantly reduced, and the loss of vitamin C was reduced from the 0th to the 6th day of storage. The treatment with lower carbon dioxide content was not as effective as C7 combination. In conclusion, 7% CO2 + 3% O2 + 90% N2 MAP conditions delayed pulp yellowing and biochemical characteristics and maintained firmness and free moisture content along with better quality of mango for 30 days at low temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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12 pages, 4076 KiB  
Article
Waste of Fresh Fruits in Yaoundé, Cameroon: Challenges for Retailers and Impacts on Consumer Health
by A.G. Kamda Silapeux, Roger Ponka, Chiara Frazzoli and Elie Fokou
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020089 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 7473
Abstract
Post-harvest losses contribute significantly to food insecurity and affect the nutritional status and health of populations. This study estimates the waste of fresh fruits in the post-harvest chain and identifies avoidable causes along the food supply chain to extrapolate good practices for the [...] Read more.
Post-harvest losses contribute significantly to food insecurity and affect the nutritional status and health of populations. This study estimates the waste of fresh fruits in the post-harvest chain and identifies avoidable causes along the food supply chain to extrapolate good practices for the empowerment of retailers. A semi-structured questionnaire and a checklist were used in the administrative units of Yaoundé, Cameroon, from May to June 2017. Fifty fresh fruit retailers were randomly selected. Information, including socioeconomic profile, handling practices, transport, and food wastes, was analyzed. Dominant figure in the fruit market are 34-aged women. Despite significant professional experience, none of retailers received formal training. The perceived main causes of fruit waste were failure to sell, mechanical damage during transport, and storage conditions. Inappropriate packaging materials and poor hygiene were also observed, and about 40–50% of fruits did not reach the consumers’ table. Nutritional education of the general population is crucial in facing the challenge of fresh fruit waste. The analysis of critical points in the post-harvest fresh fruit chain highlights good cost-effective practices. Training and empowerment of retailers represent the main measures to decrease fruit waste, in addition to nutritional training programs for the general population recommending the daily consumption of fruits for healthy life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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10 pages, 1127 KiB  
Article
Influence of Storage on Physiological Properties, Chemical Composition, and Bioactive Compounds on Cactus Pear Fruit (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.)
by Lucía Andreu-Coll, María Emma García-Pastor, Daniel Valero, Asunción Amorós, María Soledad Almansa, Pilar Legua and Francisca Hernández
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010062 - 13 Jan 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4365
Abstract
Cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) fruit from ‘Orito’ cultivar were stored at 2 °C and 90% RH for 28 days plus three days at 20 °C (shelf life, SL). This research analysed the changes in fruit quality parameters (weight loss, firmness, [...] Read more.
Cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) fruit from ‘Orito’ cultivar were stored at 2 °C and 90% RH for 28 days plus three days at 20 °C (shelf life, SL). This research analysed the changes in fruit quality parameters (weight loss, firmness, color, titratable acidity, and total soluble solids), ethylene production, respiration rate, antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds (total phenols and carotenoids) of cactus pear fruit during cold and shelf life storage. Under cold conditions, CO2 production decreased, and ethylene production increased slightly, while under shelf life conditions CO2 production increased and ethylene production increased more sharply. Firmness increased under cold conditions and did not change during shelf life period. The content of total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), pH, total carotenoids, and lipo-antioxidant activity (L-TAA) remained stable under both conservation conditions. However, hydro-antioxidant activity (H-TAA) increased under both cold and shelf life conditions, and total phenols remained stable during cold storage and increased under shelf life conditions. Besides, weight loss was acceptable under both storage conditions, and color changes were more pronounced under shelf life storage. These results show that the marketability of cactus pear fruit from ‘Orito’ cultivar was acceptable until the end of the storage under cold and shelf life conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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18 pages, 3611 KiB  
Article
Persistence of Human Pathogens in Manure-Amended Australian Soils Used for Production of Leafy Vegetables
by Jennifer Ekman, Adam Goldwater, Mark Bradbury, Jim Matthews and Gordon Rogers
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010014 - 28 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4549
Abstract
Incorporation of manures into soil can add nutrients, improve soil structure and enhance biodiversity, thereby improving the sustainability of vegetable production systems. Unfortunately, manures can also potentially contain human enteric pathogens. To reduce the risk of contamination, Australian guidelines recommend a withholding period [...] Read more.
Incorporation of manures into soil can add nutrients, improve soil structure and enhance biodiversity, thereby improving the sustainability of vegetable production systems. Unfortunately, manures can also potentially contain human enteric pathogens. To reduce the risk of contamination, Australian guidelines recommend a withholding period of 90 days between manure application and harvest for high-risk products such as leafy salad greens. Our study examined the appropriateness of these guidelines under conditions replicating those on a commercial vegetable farm. Cow manure and poultry litter with/without addition of non-pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli), Listeriainnocua and Salmonella sv. sofia were added to sandy and clay loam soils typical of those used to grow vegetables. Bacterial populations were monitored in the soil and on crops of cos lettuce during spring (A), summer (B) and autumn (C) trials, with testing conducted by a commercial laboratory. Significant declines in E. coli occurred within 6 to 16 days in all trials. Modelling indicated that E. coli populations would be at or close to the limit of detection within 50 days for all of the combinations tested. A 2–3 log die-off of Salmonella spp. occurred within three weeks. However, occasional detections continued throughout trial A. As a result, the probability of detection after 50 days fell from 1.0 to 0.1 and 0.02 in trials B and C, respectively, but remained at 0.44 in trial A. Listeria spp. was the most persistent in soil but was not detected on lettuce at commercial maturity. While this study was limited in scope, the results suggest that a 90 day withholding period between application of manure and harvest significantly reduces risk from enteric pathogens under Australian field conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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17 pages, 2462 KiB  
Article
Heat and Mass Transfer on the Microwave Drying of Rough Rice Grains: An Experimental Analysis
by Edna G. Silva, Ricardo S. Gomez, Josivanda P. Gomes, Wilton P. Silva, Ketinlly Y. N. Porto, Fagno D. Rolim, João E. F. Carmo, Romário O. Andrade, Ivonete B. Santos, Rodrigo A. A. Sousa, Diego D. S. Diniz, Marcella M. C. A. Aragão and Antonio G. B. Lima
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010008 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3700
Abstract
This work aims to experimentally study the drying of agricultural products using microwaves, with particular reference to grains. Microwave drying experiments were carried out with paddy rice grains in natura (BRSMG Conai variety) for three levels of incident microwave power per mass of [...] Read more.
This work aims to experimentally study the drying of agricultural products using microwaves, with particular reference to grains. Microwave drying experiments were carried out with paddy rice grains in natura (BRSMG Conai variety) for three levels of incident microwave power per mass of fresh grain (6.27, 14.63 and 22.99 W/g). Results of grain drying and heating kinetics are presented and analyzed. It was verified that the ideal average moisture content for grain storage and marketing, 15% (d.b.), occurred at 20 min (6.27 W/g), 13 min (14.63 W/g) and 7 min (22.99 W/g), and that the equilibrium moisture content of the samples reached 4.4%, 2.7% and 1.9%, at 310, 180 and 110 min, for each of the three power levels studied, respectively. The drying with the highest absorbed power caused discoloration of the grains at the end of the drying process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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19 pages, 1965 KiB  
Article
Application of Artificial Neural Networks to Assess the Mycological State of Bulk Stored Rapeseeds
by Jolanta Wawrzyniak
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110567 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3470
Abstract
Artificial neural networks (ANNs) constitute a promising modeling approach that may be used in control systems for postharvest preservation and storage processes. The study investigated the ability of multilayer perceptron and radial-basis function ANNs to predict fungal population levels in bulk stored rapeseeds [...] Read more.
Artificial neural networks (ANNs) constitute a promising modeling approach that may be used in control systems for postharvest preservation and storage processes. The study investigated the ability of multilayer perceptron and radial-basis function ANNs to predict fungal population levels in bulk stored rapeseeds with various temperatures (T = 12–30 °C) and water activity in seeds (aw = 0.75–0.90). The neural network model input included aw, temperature, and time, whilst the fungal population level was the model output. During the model construction, networks with a different number of hidden layer neurons and different configurations of activation functions in neurons of the hidden and output layers were examined. The best architecture was the multilayer perceptron ANN, in which the hyperbolic tangent function acted as an activation function in the hidden layer neurons, while the linear function was the activation function in the output layer neuron. The developed structure exhibits high prediction accuracy and high generalization capability. The model provided in the research may be readily incorporated into control systems for postharvest rapeseed preservation and storage as a support tool, which based on easily measurable on-line parameters can estimate the risk of fungal development and thus mycotoxin accumulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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17 pages, 6295 KiB  
Article
Convective and Microwave Assisted Drying of Wet Porous Materials with Prolate Spheroidal Shape: A Finite-Volume Approach
by Edna G. Silva, Ricardo S. Gomez, Josivanda P. Gomes, Rossana M. F. Figueirêdo, Alexandre J. M. Queiroz, Wilton P. Silva, Ângela M. Santiago, Antonio D. B. Macedo, João P. L. Ferreira, Ítalo A. Gomes and Antonio G. B. Lima
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110507 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2132
Abstract
Convective heating is a traditional method used for the drying of wet porous materials. Currently, microwave drying has been employed for this purpose, due to its excellent characteristics of uniform moisture removal and heating inside the material, higher drying rate, and low energy [...] Read more.
Convective heating is a traditional method used for the drying of wet porous materials. Currently, microwave drying has been employed for this purpose, due to its excellent characteristics of uniform moisture removal and heating inside the material, higher drying rate, and low energy demand. This paper focuses on the study of the combined convective and microwave drying of porous solids with prolate spheroidal shape. An advanced mathematical modeling based on the diffusion theory (mass and energy conservation equations) written in prolate spheroidal coordinates was derived and the numerical solution using the finite-volume method is presented. Here, we evaluated the effect of the heat and mass transport coefficients and microwave power intensity on the moisture removal and heating of the solid. Results of the drying and heating kinetics and the moisture and temperature distribution inside the solid are presented and discussed. It was verified that the higher the convective heat and mass transfer coefficients and microwave power intensity, the faster the solid will dry and heat up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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14 pages, 5688 KiB  
Article
Heat and Mass Transfer, and Volume Variations in Banana Slices during Convective Hot Air Drying: An Experimental Analysis
by Raimundo P. Farias, Ricardo S. Gomez, Wilton P. Silva, Leonardo P. L. Silva, Guilherme L. Oliveira Neto, Ivonete B. Santos, João E. F. Carmo, José J. S. Nascimento and Antonio G. B. Lima
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100423 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4017
Abstract
Bananas are some of the most consumed fruits throughout the world, providing metabolizable calories and vitamins for humans, along with many other benefits. However, this fruit tends to be easily degraded by microorganisms and other chemical agents because of the high moisture content. [...] Read more.
Bananas are some of the most consumed fruits throughout the world, providing metabolizable calories and vitamins for humans, along with many other benefits. However, this fruit tends to be easily degraded by microorganisms and other chemical agents because of the high moisture content. Considering the importance, this work focuses on an experimental study regarding banana fruit drying. For such purpose, whole bananas were hand-peeled and sliced longitudinally and then dried by a hot air circulation oven with air temperatures of 40 °C, 50 °C, 60 °C and 70 °C. Measurements of mass, temperature, and dimensions of the sample were done during the drying process. Results of drying, heating, and shrinkage (volume and surface area) kinetics are presented and analyzed. The study revealed that the drying air temperature significantly affected moisture removal, heating, and dimensions’ variation rates, as well as quality of banana fruit. The drying carried out with higher temperature and lower relative humidity of the air gave rise to higher rates of drying, heating and variation of dimensions, and shorter drying time of the product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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13 pages, 3298 KiB  
Article
Microbial and Parasitic Contamination of Fresh Raw Vegetable Samples and Detection of the BlaTEM and BlaCTX-M Genes from E. coli Isolates
by Alina Ghimire, Jitendra Upadhyaya, Tulsi Nayaju, Binod Lekhak, Dhiraj Kumar Chaudhary, Vijaya Raghavan, Bhoj Raj Pant, Tirtha Raj Bajgai, Niranjan Koirala and Milan Kumar Upreti
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080341 - 7 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 5842
Abstract
A total of 100 fresh-raw vegetable samples were collected from the Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts of Nepal to evaluate microbial and parasitic contamination, presence of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli and detect the blaTEM and blaCTX-M genes among [...] Read more.
A total of 100 fresh-raw vegetable samples were collected from the Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts of Nepal to evaluate microbial and parasitic contamination, presence of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli and detect the blaTEM and blaCTX-M genes among the Escherichia coli isolates. This study revealed that the prevalence of Giardia cysts was highest (100%) and Hookworm and Entamoeba coli were lowest (1% each). Coliforms were isolated from every raw vegetable sample. A total of 178 bacterial isolates were isolated among which 57 isolates were identified as E. coli, out of which 33 were Multi-drug resistant (MDR) isolates. The high rate of resistance was found towards amoxicillin/clavulanate, tetracycline and cotrimoxazole. The 10 E. coli isolates tested positive in an ESBL screening, out of which 4 were confirmed as ESBL producers by a combined disc test. Out of these 4 confirmed ESBL E. coli, one was found to carry both the blaTEM gene and blaCTX-M genes by the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique. One isolate has only the blaTEM gene, while other isolate harboured only blaCTX-M genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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13 pages, 1288 KiB  
Article
Paenibacillus brasilensis YS-1: A Potential Biocontrol Agent to Retard Xinyu Tangerine Senescence
by Chuying Chen, Chunpeng Wan, Juanhua Guo and Jinyin Chen
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080330 - 5 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2024
Abstract
The Xinyu tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco) is a non-climacteric fruit that is widely cultivated and consumed in China but highly susceptible to fungal infections. Antagonistic microorganisms can control postharvest diseases and extend the storage life of citrus fruits. However, little work has [...] Read more.
The Xinyu tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco) is a non-climacteric fruit that is widely cultivated and consumed in China but highly susceptible to fungal infections. Antagonistic microorganisms can control postharvest diseases and extend the storage life of citrus fruits. However, little work has been done to investigate the effects of applying Paenibacillus brasilensis YS-1 by immersion to enhance the cold storability of Xinyu tangerines. Fruits were soaked with P. brasilensis YS-1 fermented filtrates for 10 min and in sterile water as the control. The decay incidence, weight loss, nutrient content, respiration rate, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and defensive enzymes activities in citrus fruit were measured during cold storage at 5 ± 0.5 °C. The results showed that P. brasilensis YS-1 treatment significantly reduced postharvest decay and effectively maintained the nutritional quality compared to the control under cold storage. The weight loss, respiration rate, and MDA content were lower in P. brasilensis YS-1-treated fruits than the control fruits, indicating that P. brasilensis YS-1 treatment increased the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and phenylalnine ammonia-lyase (PAL). According to the results, a postharvest application of P. brasilensis YS-1 can control the postharvest decay and maintain fruit quality, as well as increase the defensive enzyme activity, so as to achieve the purpose of retarding postharvest senescence in citrus fruit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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Review

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21 pages, 679 KiB  
Review
The Relationship between Environmental Characteristics and Risk Management Practices on Produce Farms: A Systematic Literature Review
by Dilhani Nisansala Jayawardhana, Loan Thi Thanh Cao, Thomas A. Yeargin, Kristen E. Gibson and Angela M. Fraser
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120577 - 24 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2627
Abstract
Produce-associated foodborne disease outbreaks have increased worldwide highlighting the importance of proper implementation of risk management practices (RMP). We determined the relationship between environmental characteristics (i.e., physical resources) of produce farms and implementation of RMP. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and [...] Read more.
Produce-associated foodborne disease outbreaks have increased worldwide highlighting the importance of proper implementation of risk management practices (RMP). We determined the relationship between environmental characteristics (i.e., physical resources) of produce farms and implementation of RMP. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses principles, we identified 36 studies to include in our analysis. Most study data were collected through surveys administered to growers in developed countries. Quality assessment results showed that studies on this topic should be more rigorously conducted (e.g., powering sample sizes and training data collectors) to yield better quality evidence. Agricultural waters were the most common environmental characteristic assessed, with many farms using unsafe water sources. Hygiene aids (e.g., accessible handwashing facilities), were lacking across many farms. Animal intrusion RMP were the least commonly assessed environmental characteristic. Only one study tested the relationship between on-farm environmental characteristics and RMP implementation reporting a positive relationship between accessible handwashing and worker hygiene practices. Grower knowledge and perception of RMP combined with cost and ease in carrying out RMP might influence the availability of physical resources for proper RMP implementation. These results can inform practical interventions aimed to increase adoption of RMP on produce farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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