The foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes generally infects immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients, more frequently and with higher morbidity and mortality than the general population. Because of the anticipated risk associated with L. monocytogenes and other pathogens in produce, immunocompromised individuals are often placed on neutropenic diets that exclude fresh produce, though these risks have not been quantified. Therefore, this study developed a data-driven risk model for listeriosis in cancer patients who consume ready-to-eat (RTE) salads, consisting of leafy greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes, as influenced by kitchen-scale treatments and storage practices. Monte Carlo simulations were used to model the risk of invasive listeriosis during one chemotherapy cycle. Refrigerating all salad components decreased the median risk by approximately one-half log. For refrigerated salads with no treatment, the predicted median risk was ≤ 4.3 × 10−08. When salad ingredients were surface blanched with greens rinsed, the predicted risk decreased to 5.4 × 10−10. Predicted risk was lowest (1.4 × 10−13) for a blanched “salad” consisting of solely cucumbers and tomatoes. Interestingly, rinsing, as recommended by FDA, only decreased the median risk by 1 log. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the highly variable dose-response parameter k strongly influenced risk, indicating that reducing uncertainty in this variable may improve model accuracy. Overall, this study demonstrates that kitchen-scale pathogen reduction approaches have high risk reduction efficacy and could be considered as an alternative to diets that exclude produce when making risk management decisions.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call