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A Survey of Iceberg Lettuce for the Presence of Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes in Japan

Koseki, Shigenobu, Mizuno, Yasuko, Kawasaki, Susumu, Yamamoto, Kazutaka
Journal of food protection 2011 v.74 no.9 pp. 1543-1546
Escherichia coli O157, Lactuca sativa var. capitata, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, aerobes, coliform bacteria, fresh produce, lettuce, pathogens, plate count, polymerase chain reaction, surveys, Japan
No information has been available on the prevalence of pathogens in fresh produce in Japan. In the present study, information was collected on the occurrence of contamination by Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes in iceberg lettuce in a Japanese retail store. A total of 419 samples of lettuce that had been harvested in different districts and/or by different producers from July 2008 to March 2009 were examined. A multiplex PCR method was used to simultaneously identify the three bacterial pathogens. No pathogenic bacteria, including Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes, were detected from any of the samples with this highly sensitive and validated procedure. The aerobic bacteria plate counts and coliform bacteria counts in lettuce throughout the examination period did not show any seasonal trends, and the numbers were comparable to those reported by others from around the world. Based on the results of this study, we concluded that none of the three major pathogens were present in this limited survey of iceberg lettuce sold by a retailer in Japan.