OSU publishes new berry & grape food safety guide

October 24, 2003

CORVALLIS – If you grow, harvest, sell, process or make wine from berries or grapes, the Oregon State University Extension Service has just published a new guide that should prove indispensable for berry and grape food safety concerns.

"Promoting the Safety of Northwest Fresh and Processed Berries" is a 34-page illustrated guide for those in the produce or food industry to keep berries, grapes and their products safe for consumption.

Fresh fruits have occasionally been implicated in food-borne illnesses, including bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli, explained Mark Daeschel, professor of food science and technology at OSU.

This challenges the belief that high-acid foods cannot harbor viable pathogenic bacteria.

In laboratory studies, Daeschel and Yanyun Zhao, an OSU associate professor of food science and technology, found that berry juices and purees could support growth of bacteria such as E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella species.

"The issue of product contamination is of special concern to us here in the Northwest because manure fertilizers are being promoted for use in berry production by Oregon and Washington farms," said Zhao.

Viruses can contaminate raw agricultural produce as well.

"Viruses can survive in the soil for months and contaminate raw produce such as raspberries and strawberries," she said. Prevention is the best way to avoid contamination of berries and grapes and their products, said Zhao.

The new publication includes information on:

  • Types of food borne illnesses in both fresh and processed berries, their nature, origin and symptoms;  
  • Risk and sources of pre-harvest contamination of berries and grapes, and "Good Agricultural Practices" to avoid contamination;  
  • The food safety hazards in berry processing and "Good Agricultural Practices" to avoid contamination.  
  • Potential juice hazards and control measures.  
  • Hazard analysis and critical control points for berry and grape processing.

For more information on "Promoting the Safety of Northwest Fresh and Processed Berries," EM 8838, visit our on-line catalog. Our publications and video catalog at: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ shows which publications are available on the Web and which can be ordered as printed publications.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Mark Daeschel, Yanyun Zhao