Quantitative microbial risk assessments do not usually account for the planning and ordering mechanisms (logistics) of a food supply chain. These mechanisms and consumer demand determine the storage and delay times of products. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the difference between simulating supply chain logistics (MOD) and assuming fixed storage times (FIX) in microbial risk estimation for the supply chain of fresh-cut leafy green vegetables destined for working-canteen salad bars. The results of the FIX model were previously published (E. Franz, S. O. Tromp, H. Rijgersberg, and H. J. van der Fels-Klerx, J. Food Prot. 73:274-285, 2010). Pathogen growth was modeled using stochastic discrete-event simulation of the applied logistics concept. The public health effects were assessed by conducting an exposure assessment and risk characterization. The relative growths of Escherichia coli O157 (17%) and Salmonella enterica (15%) were identical in the MOD and FIX models. In contrast, the relative growth of Listeria monocytogenes was considerably higher in the MOD model (1,156%) than in the FIX model (194%). The probability of L. monocytogenes infection in The Netherlands was higher in the MOD model (5.18 × 10-8) than in the FIX model (1.23 × 10-8). The risk of listeriosis-induced fetal mortality in the perinatal population increased from 1.24 × 10-4 (FIX) to 1.66 × 10-4 (MOD). Modeling the probabilistic nature of supply chain logistics is of additional value for microbial risk assessments regarding psychrotrophic pathogens in food products for which time and temperature are the postharvest preventive measures in guaranteeing food safety.
- iceberg lettuce
- fresh produce