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Irrigation Water Sources and Time Intervals as Variables on the Presence of Campylobacter spp. and Listeria monocytogenes on Romaine Lettuce Grown in Muck Soil

Guevremont, Evelyne, Lamoureux, Lisyanne, Genereux, Mylene, Cote, Caroline
Journal of food protection 2017 v.80 no.7 pp. 1182-1187
Campylobacter coli, Listeria monocytogenes, field experimentation, food pathogens, harvesting, irrigation, irrigation water, pig manure, risk management, romaine lettuce, soil, soil sampling, water pollution
Irrigation water has been identified as a possible source of vegetable contamination by foodborne pathogens. Risk management for pathogens such as Campylobacter spp. and Listeria monocytogenes in fields can be influenced by the source of the irrigation water and the time interval between last irrigation and harvest. Plots of romaine lettuce were irrigated with manure-contaminated water or aerated pond water 21, 7, or 3 days prior to harvesting, and water and muck soil samples were collected at each irrigation treatment. Lettuce samples were collected at the end of the trials. The samples were tested for the presence of Campylobacter spp. and L. monocytogenes. Campylobacter coli was isolated from 33% of hog manure samples (n = 9) and from 11% of the contaminated water samples (n = 27), but no lettuce samples were positive (n = 288). L. monocytogenes was not found in manure, and only one sample of manure-contaminated irrigation water (n = 27) and one lettuce sample (n = 288) were positive. No Campylobacter or L. monocytogenes was recovered from the soil samples (n = 288). Because of the low incidence of pathogens, it was not possible to link the contamination of either soil or lettuce with the type of irrigation water. Nevertheless, experimental field trials mimicking real conditions provide new insights into the survival of two significant foodborne pathogens on romaine lettuce.