An assessment of the microbiological safety of fresh whole-leaf herbs from retail premises in the United Kingdom with a focus on Salmonella spp.

Caroline Willis, Lorraine Sadler-Reeves, Nicola Elviss, Heather Aird, A. Fox, M. Kaye, Elizabeth Depinna, C. Lane, James McLauchlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Fresh herbs have been associated with a number of outbreaks in recent years, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. A study of fresh herbs was carried out to assess their microbiological safety in relation to Salmonella contamination and levels of Escherichia coli. Methods and Results: Between January and March 2014, 774 samples of ready-to-eat, fresh, whole-leaf herbs were collected from retail premises in the United Kingdom. Overall, Salmonella was detected in nine samples (1·2%). Of these, five were curry leaves. Other herbs contaminated with Salmonella were basil (two samples), walleria (1) and coriander (1). Escherichia coli was detected in 13% of samples, with 11% containing unsatisfactory levels (≥102 g-1). Conclusions: Whilst 88% of samples in this study were of an acceptable microbiological quality, the presence of Salmonella and/or elevated E. coli levels in 12% is a cause for concern. Curry leaves, in particular, had significantly higher rates of contamination with both Salmonella and E. coli than other herbs. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study highlights the potential public health risk associated with the consumption of certain ready-to-eat fresh herbs, and the need for good hygiene practices and effective decontamination procedures during the growth, harvesting and subsequent handling of these products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-833
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Volume119
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Curry leaves
  • Food safety
  • Fresh herbs
  • Salmonella
  • Survey

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An assessment of the microbiological safety of fresh whole-leaf herbs from retail premises in the United Kingdom with a focus on Salmonella spp.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this