Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is currently recognized as an important human food borne pathogen, and it is one of the most resistant enteric RNA viruses, is highly infectious, and may lead to widespread outbreaks. The aim of this study was to optimize the methods to detect HAV from artificially contaminated food. To this end, strawberry and lettuce were experimentally contaminated with HAV suspension containing 6 9 10 6 copies/ml. After contamination, HAV persistence and washing procedure were evaluated at 0, 1, 3, 7, and 9 days of storage. Five elution buffers (PBS (pH 7.4)/0.1% Tween80; 50 mM glycine/3% (wt/vol) beef extract (pH 9.5); PBS (pH 7, 4); 25 mM glycine/0.1 Tween80; and 1 M sodium bicarbonate) were used to elute the virus, and qualitative and quantitative PCR were used for HAV detection. HAV was detected by qualitative and quantitative PCR using any of the five elution buffers, but PBS was the most effective. Even after washing, HAV was detected up to 9 days after contamination by quantitative PCR. Quantitative PCR was more sensitive than qualitative PCR since samples containing viral load lower than 1.4 9 10 3 copies/ml could not be detected by qualitative PCR. Quantitative PCR can be used for rapid detection of food borne viruses and will help in the monitoring and control of food borne disease.