EFSA risk assessments – pathogenic micro-organisms in fruit, berries and vegetables

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EFSA risk assessments – pathogenic micro-organisms in fruit, berries and vegetables

Published 14.09.2020     Last changed 16.09.2020

In April 2020, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) published a risk assessment related to Listeria monocytogenes in frozen fruits and vegetables that are blanched before freezing. The risk assessment was made as a result of a major international outbreak with listeriosis caused by frozen maize from Hungary.

EFSA identified several control activities that manufacturers can implement to reduce the risk, including cleaning and disinfection of the production environment, water, time and temperature control at various production stages , and correct labeling of the products:
FSA 2020 – The public health risk posed by Listeria monocytogenes in frozen fruits and vegetables including herbs, blanched during processing

In 2013 and 2014, EFSA published six reports on the dangers associated with pathogenic microorganisms in fruits, berries and vegetables.

EFSA 2013 – Scientific Opinion on the risk posed by pathogens in food of non-animal origin:
Part 1: Outbreak data analysis and risk ranking of food / pathogen combinations

Part 2: (5 sub-reports)

1.      Salmonella and norovirus in leafy greens eaten raw as salads

2.      Salmonella and Norovirus in berries

3.      Salmonella and Norovirus in tomatoes

4.      Salmonella in melons

5.      Salmonella, Yersinia, Shigella and Norovirus in bulb and stem vegetables, and carrots

In 2011, following the large outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in sprouts in Germany and France, EFSA prepared a risk assessment for STECs and other pathogenic bacteria in sprouted seeds (sprouts, shoots and watercress). The seeds can be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria during production, storage and distribution, e.g. via contaminated irrigation water or soil. The germination process with high heat and moisture provides good growth conditions for bacteria found on the seeds:
EFSA 2011 – Scientific Opinion on the risk posed by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and other pathogenic bacteria in seeds and sprouted seeds

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