The current high demand of minimally processed or fresh-cut fruit and vegetables results from the consumer’s desire for healthy, convenient, fresh, and ready-to-eat plant food-derived commodities. Fresh-cut fruits and vegetables are usually packaged under active- or passive-modified atmosphere packaging, while its shelf life must be under refrigerated conditions. The most important goal to preserve quality and safety focuses on releasing the microbial spoilage flora, since every unit operation involved will influence the final load. Sanitation in the washing step is the only unit operation able to reduce microbial load throughout the production chain. Chlorine is widely used as an efficient sanitation agent, but some disadvantages force to find eco-friendly emerging alternatives. It is necessary to deal with aspects related to sustainability because it could positively contribute to the net carbon balance besides reducing its use. Several innovative techniques seem to reach that target. However, industrial changes for replacing conventional techniques request a fine knowledge of the benefits and restrictions as well as a practical outlook. This chapter reviews the principles of emerging eco-friendly techniques for preserving quality and safety of fresh-cut products in order to meet the expected market’s demand.
Part of the book: Postharvest Handling