Food and Environmental Virology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 211–217 | Cite as

Norovirus Contamination of Bell Pepper from Handling During Harvesting and Packing

  • Josefina León-Félix
  • Rosa A. Martínez-Bustillos
  • Manuel Báez-Sañudo
  • Felipe Peraza-Garay
  • Cristóbal Chaidez
Original Paper


To evaluate the impact of harvesting and packinghouse operation on the contamination of green bell pepper (GBP) with viruses and enteric bacteria. Hands of 97 workers plus 40 GBP were sampled from field and packinghouse areas. RT-nested PCR were used for the identification of Noroviruses (NV) and Chromogenic agar for the quantification of coliforms and Escherichia coli. NV was found in 30.9 and 23.7% of workers’ hands, before and after 3 h of work, respectively, while 45 and 30% of field and packed GBP was positive for NV. Fecal coliforms and Escherichia coli were present in 68 and 57.3% and 12.4 and 11.1% of workers’ hands before and after 3 h of work, respectively. Fecal coliforms were detected in 85 and 15% of field and packed GBP, respectively, while E. coli was absent. There was no significant correlation between bacterial indicator and NV in the analyzed samples (P > 0.05). Handling of fresh produce by workers during harvesting and packing operations has negative impacts on fresh produce safety.


Norovirus Green bell pepper Packinghouse operations Coliforms 



The authors thank Célida Martinez and Juan Pedro Campos for their technical support in this research work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josefina León-Félix
    • 1
  • Rosa A. Martínez-Bustillos
    • 1
  • Manuel Báez-Sañudo
    • 1
  • Felipe Peraza-Garay
    • 2
  • Cristóbal Chaidez
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y DesarrolloCuliacánMexico
  2. 2.Escuela de Ciencias Físico-Matemáticas, Universidad Autónoma de SinaloaCiudad UniversitariaCuliacánMexico

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