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Postharvest handling of potatoes on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (ESV) regularly includes the use of flumes, dump tanks, and spray washers. Water used in flumes and dump tanks is often re-circulated to conserve water and energy. Soil, plant matter, and disease-causing pathogens can potentially accumulate in water during bin dumping and flume recirculation. Contaminated water used in flumes and dump tanks may transmit diseases that decay the potato and adversely affect human health. Minimal published research exists on the microbial quality of water used in postharvest handling of potatoes. The lack of data on postharvest water in potato operations is largely a result of potatoes being classified as a low risk agricultural commodity for food safety, as they are typically not consumed raw.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
October 15, 2019