The efficacy of sanitizers in killing human pathogenic microorganisms on a wide range of whole and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables has been studied extensively. Numerous challenge studies to determine the effects of storage conditions on survival and growth of pathogens on raw produce have also been reported. Results of these studies are often difficult to assess because of the lack of sufficient reporting of methods or, comparatively, because of variations in procedures for preparing and applying inocula to produce, conditions for treatment and storage, and procedures for enumerating pathogens. There is a need for a standard method to accurately determine the presence and populations of pathogenic microorganisms on produce. The adoption of standard, well-characterized reference strains would benefit a comparative assessment of a basic method among laboratories. A single protocol will not be suitable for all fruits and vegetables. Modifications of a basic method will be necessary to achieve maximum recovery of pathogens on various types of produce subjected to different sanitizer or storage treatments. This article discusses parameters that must be considered in the course of developing a basic standard method against which these modifications could be made.

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