Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Fruits and Vegetables
A number of outbreaks of foodborne pathogens have been linked to consump-
tion of contaminated fruits and vegetables. From 1973 to 1997, a total of 190
produce-associated outbreaks were reported in the United States and the propor-
tion of outbreaks associated with a produce item increased from 0.7 percent to 6
percent. 58 Items frequently implicated in these outbreaks included salad, lettuce,
juice, melon, sprouts, and berries. Of the 103 outbreaks with a known pathogen,
29 percent were caused by Salmonella .
Meat and Seafood
Seafood is implicated as the vehicle in 10 to 19 percent of foodborne illnesses
in the United States 59 and more than 70 percent of foodborne illness in Japan. 60
In the United States, of those infections with known etiology, approximately
half are caused by viruses. As with many other foodborne infections, persons
with underlying immunocompromising conditions are more susceptible to infec-
tion and have worse outcomes. Consumption of raw or undercooked seafood
is the factor most commonly associated with infection. 61 In one study, shell-
fish accounted for 64 percent of the seafood-associated outbreaks, and finfish
were implicated in 31 percent. 59 Large outbreaks of norovirus have been associ-
ated with the consumption of raw oysters. 61 Oysters and other seafood are often
contaminated by the discharge of human waste into harvest areas. Vibrio spp.,
including V. parahaemolyticus and V vulnificus , are also associated with human
illness in the United States; consumption of oysters accounts for nearly 50 percent
of Vibrio infections. During seasons of peak infection, as much as 100 percent
of the oyster harvest may be contaminated with Vibrio . 62
Many health departments, particularly on a local level, are placing greater empha-
sis on water quality and food protection at food-processing establishments, cater-
ing places, schools, restaurants, institutions, and the home and on the training
of food management and staff personnel. An educated and observant public, a
systematic inspection program with established management responsibility, cou-
pled with a selective water and food quality laboratory surveillance system and
program evaluation can help greatly in making health department food protection
programs more effective. It is necessary to remain continually alert as water- and
foodborne diseases have not been completely eliminated; we continue to find
new ones. For a discussion of waterborne diseases, please refer to Chapter 1.
Prevention of Foodborne Diseases
The application of known and well-established microbiological and sanitary prin-
ciples has been effective in keeping foodborne diseases under control, but it is
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