Food and Environmental Virology

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 179–191

Harmonised Investigation of the Occurrence of Human Enteric Viruses in the Leafy Green Vegetable Supply Chain in Three European Countries

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12560-012-9087-8

Cite this article as:
Kokkinos, P., Kozyra, I., Lazic, S. et al. Food Environ Virol (2012) 4: 179. doi:10.1007/s12560-012-9087-8


Numerous outbreaks have been attributed to the consumption of raw or minimally processed leafy green vegetables contaminated with enteric viral pathogens. The aim of the present study was an integrated virological monitoring of the salad vegetables supply chain in Europe, from production, processing and point-of-sale. Samples were collected and analysed in Greece, Serbia and Poland, from ‘general’ and ‘ad hoc’ sampling points, which were perceived as critical points for virus contamination. General sampling points were identified through the analysis of background information questionnaires based on HACCP audit principles, and they were sampled during each sampling occasion where as-ad hoc sampling points were identified during food safety fact-finding visits and samples were only collected during the fact-finding visits. Human (hAdV) and porcine (pAdV) adenovirus, hepatitis A (HAV) and E (HEV) virus, norovirus GI and GII (NoV) and bovine polyomavirus (bPyV) were detected by means of real-time (RT-) PCR-based protocols. General samples were positive for hAdV, pAdV, HAV, HEV, NoV GI, NoV GII and bPyV at 20.09 % (134/667), 5.53 % (13/235), 1.32 % (4/304), 3.42 % (5/146), 2 % (6/299), 2.95 % (8/271) and 0.82 % (2/245), respectively. Ad hoc samples were positive for hAdV, pAdV, bPyV and NoV GI at 9 % (3/33), 9 % (2/22), 4.54 % (1/22) and 7.14 % (1/14), respectively. These results demonstrate the existence of viral contamination routes from human and animal sources to the salad vegetable supply chain and more specifically indicate the potential for public health risks due to the virus contamination of leafy green vegetables at primary production.


Food-borne virus Virological quality Leafy vegetables Molecular detection 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Kokkinos
    • 1
  • I. Kozyra
    • 2
  • S. Lazic
    • 3
  • M. Bouwknegt
    • 4
  • S. Rutjes
    • 4
  • K. Willems
    • 5
    • 6
  • R. Moloney
    • 7
  • A. M. de Roda Husman
    • 4
  • A. Kaupke
    • 2
  • E. Legaki
    • 1
  • M. D’Agostino
    • 8
  • N. Cook
    • 8
  • A. Rzeżutka
    • 2
  • T. Petrovic
    • 3
  • A. Vantarakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Microbiology Unit, Department of Public Health, Medical SchoolUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.National Veterinary Research InstitutePuławyPoland
  3. 3.Scientific Veterinary Institute “Novi Sad”Novi SadSerbia
  4. 4.National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVMBilthovenNetherlands
  5. 5.Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management, Consortium for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Department of Microbial and Molecular SystemsKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  6. 6.Scientia Terrae Research InstituteSint-Katelijne-WaverBelgium
  7. 7.Environmental Health Service, Health Service Executive, Sandfield Centre, Ennis, Co.ClareIreland
  8. 8.Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)YorkUK

Personalised recommendations