2022 journal article

Contamination of Fresh Produce with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Associated Risks to Human Health: A Scoping Review


co-author countries: Australia 🇦🇺 Bangladesh 🇧🇩 Ethiopia 🇪🇹 India 🇮🇳 Korea (Republic of) 🇰🇷 United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: antimicrobial resistance; antibiotic-resistant bacteria; antibiotic resistance genes; agriculture; fresh agriculture products; vegetables; fruits; leafy greens; retail markets; health risks
MeSH headings : Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology; Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology; Anti-Bacterial Agents / toxicity; Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial; Escherichia coli; Humans
Source: Web Of Science
Added: February 7, 2022

Fresh produce, when consumed raw, can be a source of exposure to antimicrobial residues, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) of clinical importance. This review aims to determine: (1) the presence and abundance of antimicrobial residues, ARB and ARGs in fresh agricultural products sold in retail markets and consumed raw; (2) associated health risks in humans; and (3) pathways through which fresh produce becomes contaminated with ARB/ARGs. We searched the Ovid Medline, Web of Science and Hinari databases as well as grey literature, and identified 40 articles for inclusion. All studies investigated the occurrence of multidrug-resistant bacteria, and ten studies focused on ARGs in fresh produce, while none investigated antimicrobial residues. The most commonly observed ARB were E. coli (42.5%) followed by Klebsiella spp. (22.5%), and Salmonella spp. (20%), mainly detected on lettuce. Twenty-five articles mentioned health risks from consuming fresh produce but none quantified the risk. About half of the articles stated produce contamination occurred during pre- and post-harvest processes. Our review indicates that good agricultural and manufacturing practices, behavioural change communication and awareness-raising programs are required for all stakeholders along the food production and consumption supply chain to prevent ARB/ARG exposure through produce.