Foodborne illnesses have caused an enormous impact on human health, with significant outbreaks occurring due to contaminated fresh produce and nuts. Fresh produce is commonly consumed raw without undergoing any kill step, which makes it a potential vector of a human pathogen. The safety of fresh produce is vulnerable to microbial contamination throughout the supply chain beginning from cultivation in the field until it reaches the plate of the consumer. Once produce gets contaminated with microbial hazards, it becomes challenging to decontaminate the produce further down the supply chain.
Ensuring the safety of fresh produce is a moving target. The holistic approach of understanding the food system as a whole entity may serve as a potential tool for solving the critical issues of fresh produce safety. Understanding the role of numerous factors (both controlled and uncontrolled), that have the potential to contaminate the produce in the farm to fork continuum, is vital. It is imperative to understand the diverse routes of contamination and mechanisms of survival of the pathogen in the fresh produce supply chain to establish science-based standards for enhanced produce safety.