Bacteriological survey of ready-to-eat lettuce, fresh-cut fruit, and sprouts collected from the Swiss market
Posted: June 29th, 2012 - 10:52am
Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Volume 75, Number 7, July 2012 , pp. 1338-1341(4)
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.