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Survey of the Microbiological Safety of Ready-To-Eat Fresh Produce

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The safety of ready-to-eat produce in Ireland.

In recent years an increasing number of fresh fruits and vegetables have been linked to foodborne illness cases and outbreaks worldwide.  

The aim of this survey was to investigate the microbiological quality and safety of selected types of RTE whole (uncut) unprocessed fresh fruit and vegetables in Ireland. The survey included any variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.

The samples were collected during a four-month period in 2016 by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). They were sampled from primary producers, packers, distributors, wholesalers and retail sectors in the Republic of Ireland. 

The results revealed that none of the samples tested had ‘unsatisfactory’ levels of any of the three microorganisms. This finding indicates that the surveyed categories of fresh produce produced and on sale in Ireland is of good microbiological quality and suggests that good hygiene practices are carried out along the Irish food supply chain.

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