“Understanding Spatio-Temporal Dimensions of Environmental Assessments in Food borne Illness Outbreaks associated with Leafy Green Produce”

by Mansoor on January 19, 2010

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Author: Dr. Baloch

Background: The alarming increase in the number of foodborne outbreaks associated with the consumption of leafy green produce has been a major cause of concern recently. Among 10,421 foodborne illness outbreaks reported during 1973-2006, 502 (4.8%) outbreaks, 18,242 (6.5%) illnesses, and 15 (4.0%) deaths were associated with leafy greens. Field investigations for recent outbreaks show an association between environmental contributing factors on growing fields and contamination in produce.

Issue: A number of interventions have been devised to prevent or reduce the survival and proliferation of microbial contamination in produce from the farm to the fork. Identification of the source of contamination and environmental factors that contribute to pathogen survival and proliferation enhances the understanding of the key processes and interactions. This understanding is critical for devising effective prevention strategies. However, in many cases, the sources of contamination and conditions, under which contamination might have occurred have not been identified.  These investigations have focused solely on the farm fields identified in traceback investigations.

Results: A systems approach that uses a watershed model and extends the outbreak investigation beyond the implicated farms from a conceptually two dimensional spatial approach to a four dimensional spatio-temporal approach on a watershed scale could help to understand the underlying causes of outbreaks, thereby contributing to prevention of similar outbreaks and improving public health.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

school grants June 7, 2010 at 4:10 am

Keep up the good work, I like your writing.

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