Can anyone explain to me how maximum E.coli of 1,000/g is an acceptable standard in ready to eat fruit and vegetables?
Déjà vu ?? it’s an interesting question.
I have done a little searching. So far, hv not located any specific numerical data used for all these mic. criteria. However the “thought’ processes, originators, related prior directives which supposedly acted as input to the 2073/2005 document are discussed in some detail in the preamble to the actual regulation 2073/2005. This info is excluded in Caz’s link, probably to avoid totally bewildering the routine user. I didn’t pursue the refs as yet – there are a lot. One important point is that the limits hv to be practically realistic, ie Codex type mic.criteria. The implication is that relevant data does exist somewhere in the EC vaults.
Nonetheless, other sources are more visible. Regarding fruit and vegetables, maybe hv a look at this for some claimed typical numbers behind the general thinking of limits.http://www.foodscien.../fshbull21a.htm
Although the logic appears to be intuitional, can see a possible demand for max 1000/g.
100>1000 limits also appear in the my prev. attached microrgs in foods vol2.
As another food source - meat patties, some more numbers are here.
I personally found the E.coli data in above quite old ref. rather startling, no idea if things hv changed these days. Approx 45pct > 100/g. (added - maybe hv drastically changed after viewing the current beef data referenced below, a result of the O157 incidents perhaps ??)
A more detailed, though still qualitative, rationale is offered for similar E.coli limits in the first (1997) attachment of pair below part of ongoing USA/ fsis meat pathogen study where the raw data is for poultry
. Unfortunately, I didn't see any then or now database values for poultry to interpret these limits.
[added - it certainly seems remarkable to compare the poultry limits above with the 2nd attachment (2007) database figures for E.coli / beef
trimmings where ca.98 pct are less than 100/g and 84 pct < than 10/g. I'm ignorant as to whether the 1997 beef situation was considered similar to poultry, ie shows a massive drop in beef contamination thru the pathogen reduction project duration for the defined type of plants utilised (federally inspected) or what]
The HPA guidelines text regarding the use of “process criteria’ seem very curt considering the overall significance generally ascribed to good hygiene. Perhaps this reflects the so far failure to pin down any direct correlations between “indicators” and food safety -
Criteria are also applied for bacteria that indicate possible poor hygiene and/or substandard practices. In some circumstances these guidelines may also be used to assess more fully the safety and quality of food taken from the producer’s premises.
The above comments do not yet directly answer yr query but hopefully point a direction, maybe even to a risk analysis, somewhere.
Rgds / Charles.C
ps - just for interest, the regulation 2073/2005 is -
(main body same as Caz's link but without the added interpretations and nice format)