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J Food Sci. 2018 Feb;83(2):386-392. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13992. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

Microbiological Quality and Safety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables at Retail Levels in Korea.

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Dept. of Food Science and Biotechnology, Coll. of Agriculture and Life Science, Kangwon National Univ., Hyoja 2 dong, Chunchon 200-701, Republic of Korea.
Dept. of Chemistry and Agricultural Industries, Faculty of Agronomy, Univ. of Kinshasa, P.O. Box 117 Kinshasa XI, D.R. Congo.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the microbiological quality and safety of fresh produce at retail level in Korea in order to periodically update information and establish available risks associated with consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The samples from different markets located in 3 provinces of South Korea were collected. The protocol in the Korean Food Standards Codex was applied and generic Escherichia coli, coliforms, aerobic mesophilic bacteria (AMB), and yeast and mold (YM) in 360 packaged and unpackaged fresh fruits and vegetables were analyzed. Presence of pathogens was examined using real-time polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) after enrichment of samples. For all, the microbial counts ranged from 1.7 to 10.6 log cfu/g for AMB, 2.2 to 7.9 log cfu/g for coliforms, and 5.5 to 7.9 log cfu/g for YM. Three lettuce samples were contaminated by E. coli with a bacterial load ranging from 2 to 4 log cfu/g. Salmonella spp. were not detected in any fresh produce. Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, and Staphylococcus aureus were found in 1 (0.6%), 3 (0.8%), and 5 (1.4%) fresh produce samples, respectively. Bacillus cereus (50.3%) and Clostridium perfringens (13.3%) had the highest prevalence. These results indicate the need for employing strict control measures and developing preventive strategies to improve the quality and safety of fresh produce in Korea.


Korea; Microbiological quality; fruits and vegetables; retail levels; safety

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