Hurdle Technology Principles Applied in Decontamination of Whole and Fresh-Cut Produce
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The incorporation within the preventive control programs used for managing safety in the whole produce and fresh-cut produce industry, of a hurdle approach that utilizes individual sublethal stressors (physical, chemical, and biological methods), in a sequential application with a cumulative inhibitory effect on the microbiological load present in a food matrix, is very adequate. This chapter attempts to review and discuss the principal stress factors or hurdles, used alone or in combination, that are and have been investigated in order to provide this industry, that has a unique challenge of assuring safety without having a true kill step, with decontamination strategies and solutions for the safety and overall quality of produce. The traditional "hurdles" like physical cleaning, temperature, chemical-based cleaning treatments, and modified atmosphere applied to achieve decontamination in produce and fresh-cut produce are discussed as well as their combination with irradiation, UV, ultrasound, and high-pressure stresses, among others. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.