Skip to main content

Quantitative Assessment of the Microbial Risk of Leafy Greens from Farm to Consumption: Preliminary Framework, Data, and Risk Estimates

Buy Article:

$37.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


This project was undertaken to relate what is known about the behavior of Escherichia coli O157:H7 under laboratory conditions and integrate this information to what is known regarding the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 spinach outbreak in the context of a quantitative microbial risk assessment. The risk model explicitly assumes that all contamination arises from exposure in the field. Extracted data, models, and user inputs were entered into an Excel spreadsheet, and the modeling software @RISK was used to perform Monte Carlo simulations. The model predicts that cut leafy greens that are temperature abused will support the growth of E. coli O157:H7, and populations of the organism may increase by as much a 1 log CFU/day under optimal temperature conditions. When the risk model used a starting level of −1 log CFU/g, with 0.1% of incoming servings contaminated, the predicted numbers of cells per serving were within the range of best available estimates of pathogen levels during the outbreak. The model predicts that levels in the field of −1 log CFU/g and 0.1% prevalence could have resulted in an outbreak approximately the size of the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. This quantitative microbial risk assessment model represents a preliminary framework that identifies available data and provides initial risk estimates for pathogenic E. coli in leafy greens. Data gaps include retail storage times, correlations between storage time and temperature, determining the importance of E. coli O157:H7 in leafy greens lag time models, and validation of the importance of cross-contamination during the washing process.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Citrus Research and Education Center, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida, 700 Experiment Station Road, Lake Alfred, Florida 33850, USA 2: Food Science Department, Rutgers University, 65 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08301, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website).

    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

    Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more