The aim of this study was to investigate the bacteriological quality of some raw eaten salad vegetables obtained from wholesalers in Ankara, Turkey. A total of 180 samples including lettuces, cos lettuce, iceberg lettuce, parsley, dill and carrots were analyzed for total aerobic bacteria, total coliform bacteria and E. coli between January 2004 and April 2004. Compact Dry media (Nissui Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Japan) were used for bacteriological analysis. Outer leaves of lettuce, cos lettuce and iceberg-lettuce samples had higher bacterial loads (3.3-7.4 log(10)CFU(-1)) than inner leaves. Neither total aerobic and coliform bacteria nor E .coli were isolated from seven inner leaves (two cos and five iceberg-lettuce samples). E. coli was significantly more often detected on parsley (21/30) and dill samples (12/30) (p<0.05). Consequently, we showed that fresh salad vegetables (especially parsley, dill and cos lettuce) might contain pathogenic microorganisms and represent a risk for consumers regarding foodborne disease. The importance of adequate measures throughout the farm-to-table food chain was emphasized.
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