The transfer rate of Salmonella Typhimurium from one contaminated parsley to other consecutively chopped batches- Modeling “Tabbouleh” preparation

It is becoming more evident that Salmonella-associated outbreaks are not limited to contaminated foods of animal origin; they are periodically linked to consumption of fresh produce, including parsley and lettuce and S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium have been commonly isolated from fresh vegetables. Salmonella spp. can be transferred to the food chain directly from human or animal faecal sources, run-off of nearby farms, untreated manure, or from contaminated irrigation water. Additionally, there are various routes for cross-contamination in the kitchen and processing environments. Of food contact surfaces, cutting boards were shown to represent critical risk factors of cross-contamination and recontamination events. In many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, leafy green parsley is typically eaten raw and prepared by fine chopping several batches.

Microbiological quality of ready-to-eat fresh vegetables and their link to food safety environment and handling practices in restaurants in Lebanon

The increased consumption of ready-to-eat (RTE) salads outside homes as a result of a fast paced lifestyle, awareness on their nutritional attributes and enhanced processing technology is well documented. Outbreak investigations often indicate that food service establishments greatly contribute to food-borne illnesses involving fresh produce.

Fifty small and medium sized (SME) restaurants in Beirut were surveyed for their food safety climates. A total of 118 samples fresh-cut RTE salads vegetables and 49 swabs of knives and cutting boards were collected for microbiological analysis.

A number of food safety practices concerns were identified in this study. The general lack of cleaning and sanitization procedures combined with a clear evidence of cross-contamination opportunities were generally reflected in the overall unsatisfactory quality of RTE vegetables.

Prevalence of antimicrobial – resistant Escherichia coli from raw vegetables in Lebanon

Fresh produce has been implicated in a number of documented outbreaks of foodborne illness caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) have been detected on vegetables, raising concerns about the prevalence of E. coli contamination in produce, which can take place at various points from farm to fork. The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli and potential transmission from soils and in the animal production environment to fresh produce at harvest has been documented, as has the further flow of resistance from fresh produce bacteria via gene transfer to enterobacterial strains in humans.The most common route for fresh produce contamination is at the pre-harvest stage, when microorganisms from animal feces, contaminated irrigation water, and wild and domestic animals can be deposited in crops. Even though foodborne disease outbreaks due to contamination of fruit and leafy green vegetables with pathogens have been rarely documented in Lebanon or the whole Middle East Region, they undoubtedly occur based on surveillance data from other regions. Therefore, the study aimed to detect the presence of STEC and multidrug-resistant (MDR) E. coli on fresh vegetables and water from different sources along the fresh produce supply chain in Lebanon.