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J Food Prot. 2016 Jan;79(1):37-42. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-184.

Assessing the Public Health Impact and Effectiveness of Interventions To Prevent Salmonella Contamination of Sprouts.

Author information

1
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Division of Food Processing Science & Technology, 6502 South Archer Road, Bedford Park, Illinois 60501, USA; Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Division of Epidemiology, 20903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA. Hongliu.Ding@fda.hhs.gov.
2
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Division of Food Processing Science & Technology, 6502 South Archer Road, Bedford Park, Illinois 60501, USA. Tongjen.Fu@fda.hhs.gov.

Abstract

Sprouts have been a recurring public health challenge due to microbiological contamination, and Salmonella has been the major cause of sprout-associated outbreaks. Although seed treatment and microbiological testing have been applied as risk reduction measures during sprout production, the extent to which their effectiveness in reducing the public health risks associated with sprouts has not been well investigated. We conducted a quantitative risk assessment to measure the risk posed by Salmonella contamination in sprouts and to determine whether and how mitigation strategies can achieve a satisfactory risk reduction based on the assumption that the risk reduction achieved by a microbiological sampling and testing program at a given sensitivity is equivalent to that achieved by direct inactivation of pathogens. Our results indicated that if the sprouts were produced without any risk interventions, the health impact caused by sprouts contaminated with Salmonella would be very high, with a median annual estimated loss of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) of 691,412. Seed treatment (with 20,000 ppm of calcium hypochlorite) or microbiological sampling and testing of spent irrigation water (SIW) alone could reduce the median annual impact to 734 or 4,856 DALYs, respectively. Combining seed treatment with testing of the SIW would further decrease the risk to 58 DALYs. This number could be dramatically lowered to 3.99 DALYs if sprouts were produced under conditions that included treating seeds with 20,000 ppm of calcium hypochlorite plus microbiological testing of seeds, SIW, and finished products. Our analysis shows that the public health impact due to Salmonella contamination in sprouts could be controlled if seeds are treated to reduce pathogens and microbiological sampling and testing is implemented. Future advances in intervention strategies would be important to improve sprout safety further.

PMID:
26735027
DOI:
10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-184
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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