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Foods 2018, 7(7), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods7070105

Microbiological Parameters in the Primary Production of Berries: A Pilot Study

1
Food Control and Production Hygiene Unit, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, via Bologna 148, 10154 Turin, Italy
2
Centre of Competence for Innovation in Agro-Environmental Field, Agroinnova, University of Torino, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy
3
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, via Bologna 148, 10154 Turin, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 June 2018 / Revised: 26 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fresh Produce Safety)
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Abstract

The primary production of fresh soft fruits was considered to be a suspected critical point for the contamination of frozen berries that were responsible for the large 2013–2014 Hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in Europe. In this study, an Italian berries’ production area was studied for its agro-technical characteristics, and the fresh fruits were analyzed for the presence of enteric viruses (HAV and Norovirus (NoV) genogroup I and genogroup II (GGI and GGII)), the enumeration of hygienic quality parameters, and the prevalence of bacterial pathogens. A total of 50 producers were sampled, who specialized in the exclusive or shared cultivation of berries. Escherichia coli was detected in two blackberry samples, whereas HAV and Norovirus were not detected. The samples were negative for Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). The farms’ attributes were not associated with positive samples, apart from the presence of E. coli and the aerobic mesophilic bacteria for blackberry that were statistically correlated. In blueberries, the high aerobic mesophilic count could likely be associated with the resistance of the outer layer to handling. However, the two pathogens (Salmonella spp. and STEC) and the targeted viruses (HAV, NoV GGI and GGII) were not detected, highlighting the low risk of foodborne pathogens and viral contamination at the primary production stage of the berry food chain in the area considered in this pilot study. View Full-Text
Keywords: fresh berries; Hepatitis A virus; virological quality; molecular detection fresh berries; Hepatitis A virus; virological quality; molecular detection
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Macori, G.; Gilardi, G.; Bellio, A.; Bianchi, D.M.; Gallina, S.; Vitale, N.; Gullino, M.L.; Decastelli, L. Microbiological Parameters in the Primary Production of Berries: A Pilot Study. Foods 2018, 7, 105.

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