The growing burden of foodborne outbreaks due to contaminated fresh produce: Risks and opportunities. Epidemiology and Infection, 137(3), 307-315

Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vectorborne, and Enteric Diseases, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.
Epidemiology and Infection (Impact Factor: 2.54). 04/2009; 137(3):307-15. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268808001969
Source: PubMed


Foodborne outbreaks from contaminated fresh produce have been increasingly recognized in many parts of the world. This reflects a convergence of increasing consumption of fresh produce, changes in production and distribution, and a growing awareness of the problem on the part of public health officials. The complex biology of pathogen contamination and survival on plant materials is beginning to be explained. Adhesion of pathogens to surfaces and internalization of pathogens limits the usefulness of conventional processing and chemical sanitizing methods in preventing transmission from contaminated produce. Better methods of preventing contamination on the farm, or during packing or processing, or use of a terminal control such as irradiation could reduce the burden of disease transmission from fresh produce. Outbreak investigations represent important opportunities to evaluate contamination at the farm level and along the farm-to-fork continuum. More complete and timely environmental assessments of these events and more research into the biology and ecology of pathogen-produce interactions are needed to identify better prevention strategies.

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    • "Considering the high risk of contamination, preventative actions on the farm or during processing or packing, or use of a treatment like irradiation might reduce the risk of disease transmission from fresh produce [3]. Irradiation may be considered as an alternative technology for fresh food treatment which is somehow impossible to treat with other sterilization process [6]. "

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    • "This chlorine level must be constantly monitored, as the presence of pathogens, as well as organic matter will react with and decrease the active chlorine levels in the wash tanks. While 200 ppm chlorine has been shown to be effective in eliminating many bacterial pathogens such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella species, it has little to no effect on the removal of viral pathogens (Le Guyader et al., 2009; Li et al., 2012; Lynch et al., 2009; Oie et al., 2008; Predmore and Li, 2011; Seymour and Appleton, 2001). Specifically, research utilizing human NoV surrogates (such as MNV-1 and FCV) has shown that less than 1 log reduction in viral titer was achieved by using 200 ppm chlorine to remove viruses from fresh produce (Predmore and Li, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Fresh produce is a high risk food for human norovirus (NoV) contamination. To help control this pathogen in fresh produce, a better understanding of the interaction of human NoV and fresh produce needs to be established. In this study the attachment of human NoV and animal caliciviruses (murine norovirus, MNV-1; Tulane virus, TV) to fresh produce was evaluated, using both visualization and viral enumeration techniques. It was found that a human NoV GII.4 strain attached efficiently to the Romaine lettuce leaves and roots and green onion shoots, and that washing with PBS or 200ppm of chlorine removed less than 0.4log of viral RNA copies from the tissues. In contrast, TV and MNV-1 bound more efficiently to Romaine lettuce leaves than to the roots, and simple washing removed less than 1log of viruses from the lettuce leaves and 1-4logPFU of viruses from roots. Subsequently, the location of virus particles in fresh produce was visualized using a fluorescence-based Quantum Dots (Q-Dots) assay and confocal microscopy. It was found that human NoV virus-like particles (VLPs), TV, and MNV-1 associated with the surface of Romaine lettuce and were found aggregating in and around the stomata. In green onions, human NoV VLPs were found between the cells of the epidermis and cell walls of both the shoots and roots. However, TV and MNV-1 were found to be covering the surface of the epidermal cells in both the shoots and roots of green onions. Collectively, these results demonstrate that (i) washing with 200ppm chlorine is ineffective in removing human NoV from fresh produce; and (ii) different viruses vary in their localization patterns to different varieties of fresh produce. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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    • "Because vegetables are often consumed raw, consumption may result in the ingestion of microorganisms which pose a potential risk to consumer health (Franz et al., 2008; Heaton and Jones, 2008). Foodborne outbreaks have been associated with consumption of fresh produce (Lynch et al., 2009; Tyler and Triplett, 2008). In addition, vegetables represent a route of human exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria (Schwaiger et al., 2011; Walsh and Fanning, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: In total 1216 vegetables obtained from Dutch stores during 2012 and 2013 were analysed to determine the prevalence of 3rd-generation cephalosporin (3GC) resistant bacteria on soil-grown fresh produce possibly consumed raw. Vegetables grown conventionally and organically, from Dutch as well as foreign origin were compared. Included were the following vegetable types; blanched celery (n = 192), bunched carrots (n = 190), butterhead lettuce (n = 137), chicory (n = 96), endive (n = 188), iceberg lettuce (n = 193) and radish (n = 120). Overall, 3GC-resistant Enterobacteriaceae were detected on 5.2% of vegetables. Based on primary habitat and mechanism of 3GC-resistance, these bacteria could be divided into four groups: ESBL-producing faecal species (Escherichia coli, Enterobacter spp.), AmpC-producing faecal species (Citrobacter freundii, Enterobacter spp.), ESBL-producing environmental species (Pantoea spp., Rahnella aquatilis, Serratia fonticola), and AmpC-producing environmental species (Cedecca spp., Hafnia alvei, Pantoea spp., Serratia plymuthica), which were detected on 0.8%, 1.2%, 2.6% and 0.4% of the vegetables analysed, respectively. Contamination with faecal 3GC-resistant bacteria was most frequently observed in root and bulb vegetables (average prevalence 4.4%), and less frequently in stem vegetables (prevalence 1.6%) and leafy greens (average prevalence 0.6%). In Dutch stores, only four of the included vegetable types (blanched celery, bunched carrots, endive, iceberg lettuce) were available in all four possible variants: Dutch/conventional, Dutch/organic, foreign/conventional, foreign/organic. With respect to these vegetable types, no statistically significant difference was observed in prevalence of 3GC-resistant Enterobacteriaceae between country of origin or cultivation type (5.2%, 5.7%, 5.7% and 3.3%, respectively).
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · International Journal of Food Microbiology
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