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Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Monaghan J.M.,Harper Adams University College | Hutchison M.L.,Hutchison Scientific Ltd.
Journal of Applied Microbiology | Year: 2012

Aims: To improve our understanding of the survival and splash-mediated transfer of zoonotic agents and faecal indicator bacteria introduced into soils used for crop cultivation via contaminated irrigation waters. Methods and Results: Zoonotic agents and an Escherichia coli marker bacterium were inoculated into borehole water, which was applied to two different soil types in early-, mid- and late summer. Decline of the zoonotic agents was influenced by soil type. Marker bacteria applied to columns of two soil types in irrigation water did not concentrate at the surface of the soils. Decline of zoonotic agents at the surface was influenced by soil type and environmental conditions. Typically, declines were rapid and bacteria were not detectable after 5weeks. Selective agar strips were used to determine that the impact of water drops 24-87μl could splash marker bacteria from soil surfaces horizontal distances of at least 25cm and heights of 20cm. Conclusions: Soil splash created by rain-sized water droplets can transfer enteric bacteria from soil to ready-to-eat crops. Persistence of zoonotic agents was reduced at the hottest part of the growing season when irrigation is most likely. Significance and Impact of the Study: Soil splash can cause crop contamination. We report the penetration depths and seasonally influenced declines of bacteria applied in irrigation water into two soil types. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology. Source


Monaghan J.M.,Harper Adams University College | Thomas D.J.I.,Hutchison Scientific Ltd. | Hutchison M.L.,Hutchison Scientific Ltd. | K. Goodburn,Chilled Food Association
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2012

As a consequence of recent outbreaks of food borne illness associated with consumption of fresh produce, there is increased scrutiny of the microbiological risks associated with the consumption of ready to eat produce within the UK retail sector This project was funded to summarise the UK industry approach to managing risk in fresh produce production and identify best practices and areas of risk. Copies of quality assurance scheme codes of practice for fresh produce growers were reviewed from a food safety viewpoint against the stipulations of Codex Alimentarius. In general, all of the guides require good practices conducive with the production of food that is free from human pathogens. A survey of growers was undertaken to assess compliance with these codes and to identify areas in the codes that growers found difficult to comply with or to implement. Growers find it difficult to risk assess water sources used for irrigation and water usage. Furthermore, the selection of bacterial indicators that were encountered was diverse and growers experienced difficulty in choosing appropriate indicators to test for, and in using the results of these tests as the basis of informed decisions. Large growers supplying the UK multiple retail chains are required by their customers to comply with one or more assurance code as a condition for the sale of their produce. Small growers that supply farmers' markets and wholesalers are under little or no pressure from their customers to do the same. This disparity in supply chains suggest that moves to encourage wholesalers to comply with assurance schemes would help reduce the risks to UK consumers from the consumption of fresh produce. Source


Rotariu O.,University of Aberdeen | Thomas D.I.,Hutchison Scientific Ltd. | Goodburn K.E.,Chilled Food Associates | Hutchison M.L.,Hutchison Scientific Ltd. | Strachan N.J.C.,University of Aberdeen
Food Control | Year: 2014

This study was conducted to analyse the current practices used by the Scottish smoked salmon industry that will affect the likelihood of Listeria monocytogenes contamination in products. Sixteen visits to smoked salmon premises were conducted between June and November 2011, interviews were carried out based on a questionnaire. The results indicate that most processors carry out appropriate food safety practices, but some improvements are needed in order to minimize the risk of Listeria contamination. It was found that the larger processors achieved better temperature control than the smaller processors. Approximately half of the visited premises needed to improve their refrigerated storage. The risk of ceiling condensation dripping onto product was a common problem, but the smaller premises were the most affected. Small food business operators require additional information on how cleaning and sanitation throughout the process can reduce contamination of the final product. Furthermore, guidance describing the best way of determining shelf life was requested by small processors. Fifty six percent of the smoked salmon processors (mostly large and medium size) tested the product for L. monocytogenes and prevalence ranged widely (0-12%) between processors. Those processors having the highest Listeria prevalence were also those most concerned about what microbiological testing should be carried out and how to evaluate the quality of their products. Most processors rarely exceeded (i.e. once every several years) the statutory limit set by the European Union (>100cfu/g or presence in 25g). The small producers did not undertake product testing for Listeria because of high test costs and lack of technical expertise. Hence, it was concluded that sharing expertise between producers, especially to smaller processors would be beneficial in terms of consumer protection. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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