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Microbial Quality of Water Used in Potato Packinghouse Operations



Authors as Published

Laura Strawn, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech, Food Science and Technology, Eastern Shore Agricultural, Research and Extension Center; Theresa Pittman, Extension Agent, Accomack County, Virginia Cooperative Extension

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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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Publication Date

October 15, 2019