Consumer Knowledge of Fresh Produce Safety and the Food Safety Modernization Act

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Virginia Tech

Between 1976 and 2012, there has been an increase in fresh fruit consumption from around 31 kg. (68 lbs.) of fruit per capita to around 136 kg. (300 lbs.) per capita and consumption of fresh vegetables has increased from around 45 kg. (100 lbs.) per capita to around 181 kg. (400 lbs.) per capita (Tables 2 and 3) (Cook, 2013). Most of the fresh produce is consumed raw. In the United States there are approximately 48 million cases of food borne illnesses reported every year resulting in 3,000 deaths (USDA- FSIS, 2013), and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between the years of 1998 and 2008 almost half of the food borne illnesses were from consuming fresh produce (CDC, 2014a). This paper reviews current programs to prevent food borne illnesses in produce, including Good Agricultural Practices and the Food Safety Modernization Act. A consumer survey was also delivered to adults in Louisa County, Iowa, to determine the extent of their awareness of safe produce handling, common pathogens found on produce, and legislation affecting the safety of produce.

Food Safety Modernization Act, food agricultural practices, safe food handling, produce