Changing production practices can affect food safety risk

10/25/2013 08:44:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Cornell logoA few small changes in produce production practices can either boost or reduce the risk of Salmonella or Listeria contamination.

Applying manure within a year of harvest, for example, boosts the odds of Salmonella contamination, according to research conducted by Cornell University.

And irrigating fields within three days and cultivating fields within a week of harvest significantly raised the risk of Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to a news release.

But by establishing a buffer between fields and potential pathogen reservoirs, such as livestock operations or waterways, growers can protect against Salmonella.

Many of the risk factors were affected by when they were applied to the fields.

By adjusting practices, growers may reduce potential contamination at a minimal cost.

The study is the first to use field data to associate certain management practices with the likelihood of of Salmonella and Listeria.

The study is published online in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. the first author was Laura Strawn, a graduate student in food science.

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