Author(s): Sagoo SK, Little CL, Mitchell RT
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Abstract AIMS: A microbiological study of uncooked ready-to-eat organic vegetables was undertaken to determine the microbiological quality of these vegetables on retail sale in the UK. METHODS AND RESULTS: Organic vegetables were collected and examined according to a standardized protocol. The majority (3185 of 3200; 99.5\%) of samples were found to be of satisfactory/acceptable quality whilst only 15 (0.5\%) were of unsatisfactory quality. Unsatisfactory results were due to Escherichia coli and Listeria spp. (not L. monocytogenes) levels in excess of 102 cfu g-1. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of pathogens (L. monocytogenes, Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli O157) and the low incidence (1.5\%) of E. coli and Listeria spp. associated with these organic vegetables indicates that overall agricultural, hygiene, harvesting and production practices were good. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: There has been a significant expansion of the UK organic market since 1998/99. Of the various commodity sectors making up the organic market, fruit and vegetables is the largest sector and this has been reflected in an increased interest in their microbiological safety. This is the first study to provide information on the microbiological quality of organic vegetables.
This article was published in Lett Appl Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Food Processing & Technology