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EU: Risk factors for Salmonella, shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter occurrence in primary production of leafy greens and strawberries

Flood Irrigation Nazareth College https://flic.kr/p/8GE9Fh CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Photo: Nazareth College / Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health: The microbiological sanitary quality and safety of leafy greens and strawberries were assessed in the primary production in Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Norway and Spain by enumeration of Escherichia coli and detection of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Campylobacter. Water samples were more prone to containing pathogens (54 positives out of 950 analyses) than soil (16/1186) and produce on the field (18/977 for leafy greens and 5/402 for strawberries). The prevalence of pathogens also varied markedly according to the sampling region. Flooding of fields increased the risk considerably, with odds ratio (OR) 10.9 for Salmonella and 7.0 for STEC. A significant association between elevated numbers of generic E. coli and detection of pathogens (OR of 2.3 for STEC and 2.7 for Salmonella) was established. Generic E. coli was found to be a suitable index organism for Salmonella and STEC, but to a lesser extent for Campylobacter. Guidelines on frequency of sampling and threshold values for E. coli in irrigation water may differ from region to region.

Click here to access the full report in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.