When we think of Salmonella we think of eggs and poultry, but vegetables can also be sources of risk when eaten raw. Now a study by the University of Florence explains what are the correct cultivation practices for product safety.
The research, signed by Massimiliano Marvasi, Anna Lenzi and Ada Baldi, indicates the nine actions that are also useful for those who cultivate their own vegetable garden.
The study was published in Food Control, the journal of the International Union of Food Science and Technology, the non-profit organization and reference point of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
«Even in the management of a garden, along the entire production and harvesting chain, vegetables can be exposed in different ways to contamination with pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella - explains Marvasi-. Our study has taken stock of existing literature, to which Florentine research in recent years has made a great contribution, especially as regards the biology and cultivation of tomatoes ».
The microbiological safety of water and organic fertilizers such as compost is of primary importance to avoid the risk of contamination, which can also be caused by the presence of feces deposited by animals (mammals, small reptiles, insects ...) or animal remains. themselves. The risk may be greater for vegetables grown on the ground and the study of the Florentine University focused in particular on the cultivation of peppers, salads and tomatoes.
"The bacterium contaminates a damaged vegetable by overcoming the outer layer, it is therefore necessary to preserve its integrity at all stages - says the researcher -. The choice of varieties helps but, among other actions, the solarization of the soil is also important (i.e. the covering of the ground with transparent plastic sheets that raise the temperature and kill many of the pathogenic bacteria), the use of clean water, safe fertilizers and a harvest made with the right conditions of maturity of the vegetable. With these precautions - concludes Marvasi - not only farmers but also anyone who has a vegetable garden can improve food security, maintaining a healthy, tasty and nutritious harvest ».
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