Research – Low levels of E. coli found in Norwegian produce testing

Food Safety News

Testing of fresh produce in Norway has found a low level of E. coli contamination.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) commissioned the Veterinary Institute to examine ready-to-eat lettuce and sugar snap peas in 2021.

A total of 118 samples, of which 37 were sugar snap peas and 81 ready-to-eat leafy greens, were analyzed. Salmonella was not detected, while E. coli was found in 11 samples, one of sugar snap peas and 10 of lettuce. E. coli, as a hygiene indicator, at levels above the guideline values was only detected in one sample of lettuce.

Results were considered unsatisfactory if three or more samples contained more than 100 colony forming units per gram or one sample contained above 1,000 CFU/g.

Officials said finding high levels of E. coli in lettuce may indicate the production process is not working optimally. Good raw material control and management of the washing and rinsing process are important, so microorganisms do not build-up and cross-contamination via water is minimized.

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