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Microbiological Hazards in Fresh Leafy Vegetables and Herbs: Meeting Report. Microbiological Risk Assessment Series (MRA) 14













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    Prevention and control of microbiological hazards in fresh fruits and vegetables – Part 4: Specific commodities
    Meeting report
    2023
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    In 2019, following a request from the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH), the Codex Alimentarius Committee (CAC) approved new work at its 42nd Session on the development of guidelines for the control of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in leafy vegetables and in sprouts. The objective of the report was to evaluate commodity-specific interventions used at all stages of fresh fruit and vegetable production from primary production to post-harvest activities, transportation, point of sale and consumer use. Emphasis was placed on the identification and evaluation of interventions used throughout the world to reduce microbiological hazards of fresh fruits and vegetables that contribute to the risk of foodborne illnesses, taking into consideration their effectiveness, practicality and suitability. The expert committee addressed four subdivided commodity groups: 1) leafy vegetables and herbs, 2) berries and tropical fruits, 3) melons and tree fruits, and 4) seeded and root vegetables.
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    Book (series)
    Prevention and control of microbiological hazards in fresh fruits and vegetables – Parts 1 & 2: General principles
    Meeting report
    2023
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    Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and are protective against many chronic health conditions. Yet, fresh fruits and vegetables have been consistently implicated in food safety incidents involving microbiological hazards around the globe for decades. In response to requests of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene concerning microbiological hazards in fresh fruits and vegetables and to update and expand the information available in Microbiological hazards in fresh leafy vegetables and herbs (MRA14), which was published in 2008, FAO and WHO convened a series of expert meetings in 2021 to 2022. The purpose of the meetings was to collect, review and discuss relevant measures to control microbiological hazards from primary production to point of sale in fresh, ready-to-eat (RTE) and minimally processed fruits and vegetables, including leafy vegetables. The experts made an effort to update and include any recent trends in commodity and pathogen pairing or pathogen occurrence and presence with a focus on emerging and neglected pathogens. The primary production in open fields was investigated by considering the location, adjacent land use, topography, and climate; prior land use; water; wildlife, animal and human intrusion; soil amendments; and harvest and packing. The experts also worked on: primary production in protected facilities; minimal processing; transport, distribution, and point of sale; and also the gaps in mitigation and interventions measures. The advice herein is useful for both risk assessors and risk managers, at national and international levels and those in the food industry working to control the relevant hazards in the fresh fruits and vegetables. the development of improved mitigation and intervention measures.
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    Book (series)
    Microbiological hazards in spices and dried aromatic herbs
    Meeting report
    2022
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    Spices and dried aromatic herbs impart flavour when added to food, and they may include many parts of the plant, including berries, flowers, leaves, roots and seeds. A number of different pathogens have been found in spices on the market, especially Salmonella spp., B. cereus and C. perfringens. There have also been several disease outbreaks associated with spices and dried aromatic herbs. An increased concern and attention to the safety of spices and dried aromatic herbs prompted, the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) to request FAO and WHO to undertake a risk assessment on microbiological hazards in these food commodities. An expert meeting of the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) considered the global evidence on the burden of illness, prevalence and concentration of selected microbial hazards with respect to various spices and dried aromatic herbs, and interventions aimed at controlling them in these commodities. The experts developed the approach to rank the health risks related to the commodity-pathogen combinations, and assessed the performance of the existing Codex sampling plan for Salmonella against several contamination scenarios.

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