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Bacteriological survey of ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruits and sprouts collected from the Swiss market


Althaus, D; Hofer, E; Corti, S; Julmi, A; Stephan, R (2012). Bacteriological survey of ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruits and sprouts collected from the Swiss market. Journal of Food Protection, 75(7):1338-1341.

Abstract

The consumption of ready-to-eat fresh vegetables has increased significantly in the recent decades. So far, no data are available on the bacteriological burden and the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruit, and sprouts on the Swiss market. This study was based on investigations carried out during 2 months of the summer season in 2011. Samples of 142 salads, 64 fresh-cut fruit, and 27 sprouts were included in this study. Escherichia coli, an indicator microorganism for fecal contamination, was only found in 5 lettuce samples, with amounts ranging between 2 and 3 log CFU/g. No Salmonella spp. were detected from any of the 233 samples analyzed in this study, and a low occurrence was found for contamination with L. monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, enteropathogenic E. coli, and Cronobacter. From the results of the present study, we conclude that even in a country where the use of chlorine solutions to sanitize fruits and vegetables in the fresh-cut industry is not allowed, it is possible to produce ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruit, and sprouts with high microbiological standards. Strict maintenance of good practices of hygiene at preharvest, harvest, and postharvest levels is of central importance to ensure both public health protection and product quality.

Abstract

The consumption of ready-to-eat fresh vegetables has increased significantly in the recent decades. So far, no data are available on the bacteriological burden and the prevalence of foodborne pathogens in ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruit, and sprouts on the Swiss market. This study was based on investigations carried out during 2 months of the summer season in 2011. Samples of 142 salads, 64 fresh-cut fruit, and 27 sprouts were included in this study. Escherichia coli, an indicator microorganism for fecal contamination, was only found in 5 lettuce samples, with amounts ranging between 2 and 3 log CFU/g. No Salmonella spp. were detected from any of the 233 samples analyzed in this study, and a low occurrence was found for contamination with L. monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, enteropathogenic E. coli, and Cronobacter. From the results of the present study, we conclude that even in a country where the use of chlorine solutions to sanitize fruits and vegetables in the fresh-cut industry is not allowed, it is possible to produce ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruit, and sprouts with high microbiological standards. Strict maintenance of good practices of hygiene at preharvest, harvest, and postharvest levels is of central importance to ensure both public health protection and product quality.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:08 Mar 2013 14:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:37
Publisher:International Association for Food Protection
ISSN:0362-028X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-022
PubMed ID:22980021

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