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Agrifood systems and the microbial safety of fresh produce: Trade-offs in the wake of increased sustainability

Abstract : Fresh produce has been a growing cause of food borne outbreaks world-wide prompting the need for safer production practices. Yet fresh produce agrifood systems are diverse and under constraints for more sustainability. We analyze how measures taken to guarantee safety interact with other objectives for sustainability, in light of the diversity of fresh produce agrifood systems. The review is based on the publications at the interface between fresh produce safety and sustainability, with sustainability defined by low environmental impacts, food and nutrition security and healthy life. The paths for more sustainable fresh produce are diverse. They include an increased use of ecosystemservices to e.g. favor predators of pests, or to reduce impact of floods, to reduce soil erosion, or to purify run-off waters. In contrast, they also include production systems isolated from the environment. From a socio-economical view, sustainability may imply maintaining small tenures with a higher risk of pathogen contamination.We analyzed the consequences for produce safety by focusing on risks of contamination by water, soil, environment and live stocks. Climate change may increase the constraints and recent knowledge on interactions between produce and human pathogens may bring new solutions. Existing technologies may suffice to resolve some conflicts between ensuring safety of fresh produce and moving towards more sustainability. However, socio-economic constraints of some agri-food systems may prevent their implementation. In addition, current strategies to preserve produce safety are not adapted to systems relying on ecological principles and knowledge is lacking to develop the new risk management approaches that would be needed.
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2016 - Publi 20 - Microbiol_{B...
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Christophe Nguyen The, Marc Bardin, Annette Berard, Odile Berge, Julien Brillard, et al.. Agrifood systems and the microbial safety of fresh produce: Trade-offs in the wake of increased sustainability. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2016, 562, pp.751-759. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.241⟩. ⟨hal-01509043⟩

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