|Authors: ||B.W. Alsanius, A.K. Gustafsson, M. Hultberg|
|Keywords: ||Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7, human pathogens, indicator organism, microbiological quality, Salmonella spp., soil, survival |
Food safety is an increasing problem in relation to vegetables, regarding both ready-to-eat produces, such as leafy salad, spinach and fruit as well as frozen produces that have not been exposed to pasteurization prior to freezing.
Contamination may occur during the entire production chain.
However, in connection with invasive enteric pathogens, slurry, farmyard manure, sewage sludge and irrigation water have been highlighted as potential sources for pathogen dispersal.
Especially, the dispersal of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. is a considerable threat.
An increasing number of outbreaks have been reported.
To prevent the spread of invasive enteric bacteria by irrigation water, water sources, such as well water as well as community potable water have been proposed.
The present paper describes pathogens of significance that may be spread by irrigation water supplied to field vegetables and presents some recent results on survival of human pathogens in water, soil and on vegetables.
The current status of standards for microbiological quality of irrigation water to fresh or minimally processed fruit and vegetables is discussed.
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