May 13, 2014 14:40 ET
CFIA tests over 1,200 fresh leafy herbs
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 13, 2014) - Canadian Food Inspection Agency
As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a study released today found that more than 98 per cent of fresh leafy herbs sampled in 2009/2010 were not contaminated with bacterial pathogens or generic E. coli, an indicator of fecal contamination that does not cause illness, and were safe for human consumption.
In 2009/2010, the CFIA began a four-year microbiological plan and analyzed 1,224 domestic and imported fresh leafy herbs for bacterial pathogens Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7, and E. coli O157:NM, as well as generic E. coli.
Salmonella was detected in one sample and high levels of generic E. coli were confirmed in the other eight samples. Shigella, E. coli O157:H7, and E. coli O157:NM were not detected in any of the herb samples.
All unsatisfactory samples were subject to food safety investigations. A recall was issued to companies for one product that never reached store shelves. However, no illnesses were associated with consumption of any of the products.
The overall finding of this survey suggests that the vast majority of fresh leafy herbs in the Canadian market are produced and handled under good agricultural and manufacturing practices. However, contamination of herbs with bacterial pathogens could sporadically occur. Consumers should follow these safety tips when choosing to purchase and consume fresh leafy herbs at HealthyCanadians.gc.ca.
2009-2010 Pathogens and Generic E. coli in fresh leafy herbs
Chemical Residues / Microbiology Targeted Surveys
Michael BolkeniusPress SecretaryOffice of the Minister of Health613-957-0200Media RelationsCanadian Food Inspection Agency613-773-6600
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