Disadvantages of Pre Cut Fruits
Precut fruits are those fruits that are being cut open or sliced before being consumed. Eg.: Pawpaw, watermelon, pineapple etc. Sometimes, the vendors slice it, package it and then sell it to the consumers.
There is a significant increase in the number of consumers of these fruits, and there has also been recorded disease outbreak that occurred as a result of consumption of these precut fruits. This is because; these fruits are being contaminated during processing.
Routes of Contamination Of Precut Fruits.
- The utensils used to process these fruits are most times inadequately handled. Trays and knives are uncovered, making it a breeding ground for microorganisms.
- Humans are mainly the reservoir of S. aureus in their nasal passage, hands, and skins. Inadequate hand washing and nasal covering can introduce micro organism inside the fruit because the food vendors handle the fruits with bare hands.
- Use of unclean water in washing the fruits and
- The unhealthy environments where these fruits are being sold also contribute to contaminating the precut fruits.
- Chemical content of these fruits, once cut open, they begin to decompose . As the decomposition is ongoing, micro organism settle on it making the fruit bad for consumption.
Disease causing organisms that can be found in these fruits that have been exposed include:
- Escherichia coli.
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Salmonella species
- Proteus species
- Enterobacter aerogenes
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa .
It has being established that inadequate hygiene among fruit vendors is the main cause of contamination of these fruits. This is mainly as a result of lack of knowledge rather than negligence.
There should be effective surveillance system to enlighten retailers and consumers on the dangers of not observing aseptic measures in handling these fruits.
Fruits should be washed properly before peeling, slicing or cutting. Also, utensils for storing and cutting frits should be clean and sanitized, and the fruits should be stored at temperature of 4oC or below before being sold or consumed.