Pharmacoeconomics: Open Access

ISSN: 2472-1042

Open Access

Food safety research at VSU in the US


Chyer Kim1,* Rehab Almuqati2, Abeer Fatani2, Rahemi Alireza1, Paul Kaseloo2, Crystal Wynn3, Theresa Nartea4, Eunice Ndegwa1 and Laban Rutto1

As farmers’ markets have increased in size, scope and complexity, so have the food-safety challenges and implications. Most products sold at farmers’ markets receive minimal
to no treatment, which increase their potential microbial risks. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and characterization of foodborne pathogens on select fresh
produce procured from farmers’ markets in Central Virginia. A total of 138 samples produced by 15 farms and sold at 9 registered farmers’ markets were obtained between March
and November 2017. The highest level of coliforms was found in cilantro with 5.8 log MPN/g. Prevalence of Campylobacter, E. coli, and Listeria were observed. A total of 46
bacterial isolates consisted of Campylobacter, E. coli, and Listeria were tested for their susceptibility to 12 antimicrobials. Ampicillin showed the highest frequency of resistance
among Campylobacter (100%) and E. coli (47.8%) isolates while nalidixic acid showed the highest resistance in Listeria isolates (72.7%). At least 17% of each Campylobacter,
E. coli, and Listeria isolates exhibited resistance to three or more categories of antimicrobials, meeting criteria for multidrug resistance (MDR). No isolates had matching pulsedfield
gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles demonstrating that the isolated pathogens had a high degree of genomic diversity. This study demonstrated a potential health hazard
arising from farmers’ market-acquired fresh produce and emphasizes the importance of good agricultural and handling practices to prevent foodborne illness. Continued
research is needed to determine and intervene the cause(s) of the observed prevalence and to support the healthy development of food products sold at farmers’ markets.


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