Contamination of fresh produce with Salmonella may occur during any point from fork to table. It may occur during produce production, harvest, processing, and transportation. Fresh produce has been recognized as a common source for Salmonella since the bacteria has the ability to attach and internalize in produce. Salmonella has been isolated from produce including mangoes, cantaloupe, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, and lettuce. Bacteria from fresh produce include a number of opportunistic human pathogens which may be resistant to several antibiotics. Antimicrobial resistant bacteria may have the potential to make their way over to fresh produce through contaminated irrigation water and manure applied to agricultural fields. Salmonella resistant to antibiotics including vancomycin, erythromycin, ampicillin and penicillin has been isolated from vegetables. With the increasing foodborne illness associated with fresh produce, there is a lot of emphasis on good agricultural practices (GAPs) to validate that farms are producing fresh produce in the safest means possible. With proper education and training on GAPs, produce growers will be able limit the occurrence of Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens in fresh produce.
- fresh produce
- antimicrobial resistance
- good agricultural practices
The demand for fresh produce in the United States is intensifying, in part, due to their nutritional value and consumer health awareness . Studies have shown that consuming more fruits and vegetables can lead to a more productive and healthier lifestyle . Despite the health benefits attained from fresh produce, microbial safety of fresh produce continues to be a major challenge as these foods are consumed raw, and are known for spreading infectious foodborne diseases . About 48 million people in America get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3000 die from consuming adulterated fresh fruits and vegetables every year . Fresh produce has been recognized as a common source for
Fresh produce is ever more contributing to the consumer diet, an inclination that has been paralleled by an intensification in foodborne illnesses. Globally, many fresh produce linked outbreaks have occurred over the last few years including
2.2. Emerging antimicrobial resistant
Salmonellain fresh produce
Antibiotic resistance has been recognized as a global health problem and as the uppermost health challenges facing the twenty-first century . The emergence of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacterial in foods  including fresh produce has become a challenge and a major public health concern worldwide. Antimicrobial resistance is responsible for 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths yearly in the US, with over $20 billion as direct health-care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity . Previous studies have identified antibiotic resistant bacteria on vegetable products at harvest or at the retail level [14, 24]. AMR is an emerging problem worldwide and antimicrobial usage in animal production is understood to be a contributing factor . Fecal material from food animals, humans, and animals often contain bacteria that are resistant to some antibiotics . It is reported that extensive use of antimicrobials in agriculture expose antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to humans through contaminated food products . It is also documented that antibiotic resistant bacteria has been identified in animal waste, wastewater, river sediments, and farmland soil . Antimicrobial resistant bacteria may be disseminated to the environment through farm waste, and may reach humans through the consumption of contaminated foods of animal origin, water, and vegetables . Leafy greens are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria from animal and human sources during production and harvesting . Consumption of fresh produce, particularly raw fresh produce, represents a route of direct human exposure to resistant microorganisms.
Several studies on antimicrobial resistance in animal-producing environments have been conducted . However limited publications are prevailing on whether vegetables or the environment where they are produced has the potential to act as a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance . According to Sjölund-Karlsson , several studies on antimicrobial resistance of
2.3. Educational programs and good agricultural practices (GAPs)
Leafy green vegetables are the highest priority in terms of fresh produce safety from a global perspective . During the period from 1996 to 2006, many countries implicated leafy greens as a primary vehicle of concern implicated in
With the increasing foodborne illness associated with fresh produce, there is a lot of emphasis on good agricultural practices to verify that farms are producing fruits and vegetables in the safest means possible. GAPs should be used as a control measure in fighting food safety threats within the fresh produce chain, while good hygienic practices (GHP) should be the second important measure for produce growers to use in concurrence with GAP . A fresh produce grower’s current food safety knowledge is often shaped by their knowledge of contamination hazards associated with the production of fresh produce, the sources of microbial threat and the impact caused by the hazard . A study by Kilonzo-Nthenge  indicated about 64% of the farmers instituted hygiene practices on their farms. From this study, many produce farmers are faced with many challenges in produce production. These include limited knowledge of GAPs and finding food safety denoted information on produce safety. Growers’ limited familiarity with GAPs implies a need for food safety education, which trained Extension educators should deliver .
Recent outbreaks and changes in consumer demands have prompted the writing of new regulations that establish standards for produce safety. However, these regulations do not cover all produce farms. There is a need to support every farmer in the produce industry. Large growers can fairly easily absorb the costs and annual audit fees associated with GAPs program; however, limited-resource farms often do not pursue these programs due to the costs, which can be exorbitant. Many growers are also not aware on risk factors on their farms and therefore, risk communication is critically needed to persuade produce growers to take appropriate actions and safe practices to avoid and reduce foodborne pathogens farms. Fresh produce farmers need additional education and training on implementing GAPs to prevent the spread of foodborne pathogens. With proper education and training on GAPs, produce growers will be able to shift their focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.
There is a need for cooperative Extension Programs to develop curriculums that can be given to county Extension agents to present to local producers. In addition tailored food safety plans and GAPs should be developed for small-scale fresh produce growers. The new agriculture marketplace require produce growers who are not only aware but also highly knowledgeable in food safety as it relates to their fresh produce.
Salmonellaand the farming environment
Several groups of microorganisms can contaminate fruits and vegetables at any point throughout the food supply chain. Fresh produce is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria directly or indirectly through contact with animals or insects, soil, water, dirty equipment, and human handling. The application of manure and other animal wastes in organic fresh produce production has the potential to contaminate produce with pathogenic bacteria including
2.5. International food trade and
The antimicrobial resistance has become a global concern as geographic borders among countries have become less discrete due to increasing global trade. Given that no country is self-sufficient in the supply of food, trade in overall is essential to ensure access to food products. For example, increasing global trade agreements and the demand for fresh produce have led to a significant growth in U.S. produce imports. Increasing global connectivity trade can facilitate the introduction of both antimicrobial resistant and pathogenic bacteria to a country through food imports. A rapidly growing universal trade in agricultural food products has significantly enabled the introduction of new
Antimicrobial resistant bacteria may have the potential to make their way over to fresh produce through contaminated irrigation water and manure applied to agricultural fields. The utmost threat to the consumer is when vegetables and fruits are consumed without being washed. Practicing good agricultural practices (GAPs) on farms and good handling practices on farms and homes is often recommended to elude