The aim of this study was to investigate the bacteriological quality of strawberries at harvest and to study risk factors such as irrigation water, soil and picker’s hand cleanliness. Four farms were visited during the harvest season in 2012. Samples of strawberries, irrigation water, soil and hand swabs were collected and analyzed for E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and STEC Although fecal indicators and pathogens were found in environmental samples, only one of 80 samples of strawberries was positive for E. coli (1.0 log10 cfu/g) and pathogens were not detected in any of the strawberry samples. The water samples from all irrigation sources were contaminated with E. coli in numbers ranging from 0 to 3.3 log10 cfu/g. Campylobacter (8/16 samples) and Salmonella (1/16 samples) were isolated from samples with high numbers of E. coli. The water samples collected from a lake had lower numbers of E. coli than the samples from rivers and a stream. The present study indicated continuous background contamination in the primary production environment. Although the background contamination was not reflected on the strawberries tested here, the results must be interpreted with caution due to the limited number of samples.
Johannessen, G. S., Eckner, K. F., Heiberg, N., Monshaugen, M., Begum, M., Økland, M., & Høgåsen, H. R. (2015). Occurrence of Escherichia coli, Campylobcter, Salmonella and shiga-toxin producing E. coli in norwegian primary strawberry production. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(6), 6919–6932. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120606919