A study funded by the Center for Produce Safety is evaluating factors that influence the introduction of foodborne pathogens on mangoes throughout the production chain.
 
Researchers Michelle Danyluk and Anita Wright at the University of Florida say the objectives of their study are designed to generate a scientific basis for minimizing and controlling pathogen presence on fresh mangoes during postharvest packing, distribution, and retail.
 
“Currently, no one process in a packinghouse is going to give us the sort of ‘kill step’ we see in manufactured foods,” Danyluk said in a news release. “Instead, we’re going to need to focus on hurdle technologies, where every subsequent step prevents contamination. To evaluate the safety of a product, you really need to look at every step in packing and shipping.”
 
The results of the research will update the “Mango Postharvest Best Management Practices Manual.”
 
The abstract said the majority of the work will focus on salmonella and tommy atkins mangoes, but the study also will evaluate Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio cholerae, as well as ataulfo and keitt mangoes.
 
The abstract said that no scientific data exists to support postharvest intervention or a postharvest storage time for mangoes covered under the Food Safety Modernization Act’s produce safety rule that may have been exposed to water not meeting the standards currently in the proposed rule.
 
“For those packinghouses falling under the FSMA Preventive Controls Rule, the validation of risk-based preventive controls or processes will be key,” the authors said.
 
The data generated in this proposal will specifically address these data gaps and will identify the appropriate pathogen of concern, and validated reduction strategies.
 
Leonardo Ortega, director of research for the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board, said in a news release that the research project is important to the industry because scientific literature carries scant mango-specific food safety information.
 
“(Danyluk is) checking different parts of the mango supply chain to see how pathogens behave on the surface of mangoes and how they behave in the cooling rooms and when the industry stores mangoes,” Ortega said in the release. “Then we’ll know what happens with these pathogens, and it will be good for us.”