Research – A Systematic Review of Listeria Species and Listeria monocytogenes Prevalence, Persistence, and Diversity throughout the Fresh Produce Supply Chain


Listeria monocytogenes is an increasing food safety concern throughout the produce supply chain as it has been linked to produce associated outbreaks and recalls. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic literature review to investigate Listeria species and L. monocytogenes prevalence, persistence, and diversity at each stage along the supply chain. This review identified 64 articles of 4863 candidate articles obtained from four Boolean search queries in six databases. Included studies examined naturally detected/isolated Listeria species and L. monocytogenes in fresh produce-related environments, and/or from past fresh produce associated outbreaks or from produce directly. Listeria species and L. monocytogenes were detected in each stage of the fresh produce supply chain. The greatest prevalence of Listeria species was observed in natural environments and outdoor production, with prevalence generally decreasing with each progression of the supply chain (e.g., packinghouse to distribution to retail). L. monocytogenes prevalence ranged from 61.1% to not detected (0.00%) across the entire supply chain for included studies. Listeria persistence and diversity were also investigated more in natural, production, and processing environments, compared to other supply chain environments (e.g., retail). Data gaps were identified for future produce safety research, for example, in the transportation and distribution center environment.

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