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Analysis on microbiological risk of fresh and fresh-cut leafy vegetables marketed in Italy

Recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses occurred in Europe and USA have revealed a close correlation between pathogen contamination and leafy green vegetable consumption.

Nine governmental regional veterinary institutes named Istituti Zooprofilattici Sperimentali (IZSs), namely Lombardia and Emilia Romagna (IZSLER), Piemonte and Liguria (IZSPLV), Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige (IZSVe), Sardegna (IZSSa), Lazio and Toscana (IZSLT), Campania and Calabria (IZSME), Puglia and Basilicata (IZSPB), Umbria and Marche (IZSUM), Sicilia (IZSPa) and the National Institute of Health, Microbiological Foodborne Hazard Unit (ISS Rome, Italy), were involved in the survey conducted in 18 of the 20 regions comprising Italy, and where 97.7% of the country's population resides.

The purpose of the survey was to evaluate the presence of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella spp., L. monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, thermotolerant Campylobacter, Yersinia enterocolitica and norovirus GI and GII serogroups, in fresh and fresh-cut leafy vegetables available on the open market in Italy.

All regional laboratories used the same sampling procedures and analytical methods. The vegetable samples were screened using validated real-time PCR (RT-PCR) methods and standardized reference ISO culturing methods.

The results show that 3.7% of 1,372 fresh leafy vegetable products and only 1.8% of 1,160 "fresh-cut" or “ready-to-eat” (RTE) vegetable retailed in supermarkets or farm markets, were contaminated with one or more foodborne pathogens harmful to human health.

The study was published on International Journal of Food Microbiology and it was on line from 2ndJune 2015 at link:

This project was funded by the Italian Ministry of Health, as: "Italian network for the molecular EPIdemiology, surveillance of FOOD-borne pathogens (acronym: EPIFOOD)"..

Source: Losio M.N., Pavoni E., Bilei S., Bertasi B., Bove D., Capuano F., Farneti S., Blasi G., Comin D., Cardamone C., Decastelli L., Delibato E., De Santis P., Di Pasquale S., Gattuso A., Goffredo E., Fadda A., Pisanu M., De Medici D., ‘Microbiological survey of raw and Ready-To-Eat leafy green vegetables marketed in Italy’, International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2015.05.026.

Enrico Pavoni
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna
Laboratorio di Microbiologia

Via Bianchi 7/9
25124 Brescia, Italy
Tel: +39 0302290611
Fax: +39 0302290542
Email: enrico.pavoni@izsler.it

Publication date: 6/29/2015
Author: Emanuela Fontana
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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