Effect of the food production chain from farm practices to vegetable processing on outbreak incidence.
Sommaire de l'article
The popularity in the consumption of fresh and fresh-cut vegetables continues to increase globally. Fresh vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet, providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds. The diversity of fresh vegetables and packaging formats (spring mix in clamshell container, bagged heads of lettuce) support increased consumption. Unfortunately, vegetable production and processing practices are not sufficient to ensure complete microbial safety. This review highlights a few specific areas that require greater attention and research. Selected outbreaks are presented to emphasize the need for science-based 'best practices'. Laboratory and field studies have focused on inactivation of pathogens associated with manure in liquid, slurry or solid forms. As production practices change, other forms and types of soil amendments are being used more prevalently. Information regarding the microbial safety of fish emulsion and pellet form of manure is limited. The topic of global climate change is controversial, but the potential effect on agriculture cannot be ignored. Changes in temperature, precipitation, humidity and wind can impact crops and the microorganisms that are associated with production environments. Climate change could potentially enhance the ability of pathogens to survive and persist in soil, water and crops, increasing human health risks. Limited research has focused on the prevalence and behaviour of viruses in pre and post-harvest environments and on vegetable commodities. Globally, viruses are a major cause of foodborne illnesses, but are seldom tested for in soil, soil amendments, manure and crops. Greater attention must also be given to the improvement in the microbial quality of seeds used in sprout production. Human pathogens associated with seeds can result in contamination of sprouts intended for human consumption, even when all appropriate 'best practices' are used by sprout growers.