The occurrence of enteric pathogens and Aeromonas species in organic vegetables

Ann McMahon, IG Wilson

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    156 Citations (Scopus)


    A range of commercially available organic vegetables (n = 86) was examined for the presence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, E. coli O 157, Listeria and Aeromonas spp., to provide information on the occurrence of such organisms in organic vegetables in Northern Ireland. The study was not designed to quantify such organisms or to compare occurrence with conventionally farmed vegetables. Standard enrichment techniques were used to isolate and identify enteric pathogens and Aeromonas species. No Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, E. coli O 157, Listeria were found in any of the samples examined. Aeromonas species were isolated from 34% of the total number of organic vegetables examined. Many (64%) of the organic vegetables examined were ``ready-to-eat'' after minimal processing, i.e., washing. Aeromonas spp. was isolated from 41% of these vegetables. Aeromonas spp. was not recovered from certain vegetable types. The most commonly isolated species of Aeromonas was Aeromonas schubertii with 21.0% of all samples contaminated with this species; 5.8% of samples contained A. hydrophila, 5.8% A. trota, 3.5% A. caviae and 2.3% contained A. veronii biovar veronii. Although Aeromonas species are frequently detected in organic vegetables, the absence of accepted enteric pathogens was encouraging, and does not support the allegation of organic foods being of high risk due to the farming methods used. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-162
    JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2001


    • enteric pathogens
    • Aeromonas spp.
    • organic vegetables


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