EFSA assesses risk from Salmonella and Norovirus in berries

| June 24, 2014

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-frozen-strawberries-image17106232The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Biohazards has published a Scientific Opinion on the risk to consumers from Salmonella and Norovirus contamination in fresh and frozen berries consumed in the EU.

The Panel considered the most commonly eaten berries, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and looked at risk factors for contamination by both Salmonella and Norovirus in the context of the entire food chain. They evaluated estimates of the prevalence of the two pathogens in berries and also considered mitigation options for preventing contamination and the relevance of microbiological criteria.

It was concluded that unique combinations of risk factors could influence contamination of berries at the primary production level and that implementation of food safety management systems like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) were primary objectives for berry producers.

However, there was found to be insufficient evidence to justify applying microbiological criteria for Salmonella in fresh or frozen berries. It also proved impossible to assess the suitability of an EU-wide Norovirus hygiene criterion at primary production for raspberries and strawberries, but the Panel considered that such criteria could be useful for verifying HACCP procedures and for advising food businesses what is acceptable.

The full Opinion can be found on the EFSA web site here.

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