Ponce de LeÃ³n De Lama, Carolina1,2; Torija Isasa, Esperanza1; Matallana GonzÃ¡lez, MÂª. Cruz1; Pintado GarcÃa, ConcepciÃ³n3
Introduction: Sprouts are ready-to-eat foods, and their use is quite widespread, consequently it is necessary to guarantee their safety.
Objective: The aims of this study were to know the European Regulations about Food Safety of sprouts and to evaluate the microbiological quality of some types of sprouts.
Methods: The European Regulation reflects the evolution related to Food Safety of vegetables, including sprouted seeds. In 2005, only Salmonella was established to be investigated in sprouts, and in 2013, the European Union proposed microbiological quality criteria for sprouts and that Regulation was transposed to the Spanish Regulations. For the microbiological study, five different types of commercial sprouts were chosen; they were directly analyzed (control), after distilled water washing and after treatment with a disinfectant. Total mesophilic aerobic bacteria, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes were counted and presence of Salmonella spp. was determined.
Results: Counts of total mesophilic aerobic bacteria were between 1.0 x 108 to 2.0 x 109 cfu/g in control samples; in the washed ones, from 6.0 x 107 to 1.1 x 109 cfu/g, and, in the treated ones, from 1.0 x 107 to 6.8 x 108 cfu/g. The reduction of bacterial load by washing was from 24 % (garlic) to 50 % (broccoli) and in the case of treatment with the disinfectant from 59 % (garlic) to 90 % (alfalfa). Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes counts were lower than 10 cfu/g in all samples, and there was absence of Salmonella spp. in 25 g of all the samples analyzed.
Conclusions: Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes counts were lower than those indicated in the Regulations, and no presence of Salmonella spp was found. In conclusion, the analyzed sprouts are considered safe and innocuous foods.