2016-2017 Parasites in Fresh Whole Mushrooms


Fresh produce such as berries, herbs and vegetables have been identified in the past as sources for parasites and has been implicated in numerous foodborne illness outbreaks worldwide. Fresh produce can become contaminated with parasites during production, harvest, post-harvest handling, packaging and distribution. Previous targeted surveys have reported on the occurrence of Cryptosporidium species (spp.) in fresh mushrooms and on the occurrence of Cyclospora cayetanensis (C. cayetanensis) and Cryptosporidium spp. in berries, fresh leafy herbs and green onions. This report focuses the occurrence of C. cayetanensis, Cryptosporidium spp., Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), and Giardia spp. in fresh mushrooms.

Considering the factors mentioned above and their relevance to Canadians, fresh mushrooms were selected for targeted surveys. Over the course of this study (April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017), a total of 483 samples of fresh mushrooms were collected from retail locations in 11 cities across Canada and tested for parasites of concern (C. cayetanensis, Cryptosporidium spp., T. gondii, and Giardia spp.). All samples were found to be free of parasite deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Regardless, fresh produce are a known potential source of foodborne illness causing parasites and as such, safe handling practices are recommended for producers, retailers and consumers.

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