FDA shares FY16–17 microbiological cucumber sampling summary report
The FDA’s approach to sampling is intended to help the agency learn more about the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria in certain foods and identify patterns that may help prevent future contamination.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released the summary report of its sampling of cucumbers which was conducted as part of FDA’s effort to help ensure food safety and prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers.
The FDA issued the cucumber assignment in November 2015 under its sampling model. The agency collected and tested 1,601 samples to determine the prevalence of Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 in the commodity. About 76 percent of the samples collected and tested were from imported cucumbers and the rest were from domestically grown cucumbers, comparable to their respective US market shares at the start of the assignment. The agency designed its sampling plan to detect rates of contamination of one percent or greater if present in the commodity.
The agency found the prevalence of Salmonella in the cucumbers sampled to be 1.75 percent. The agency did not detect E. coli O157:H7 or other pathogenic E. coli in any of the samples.
The findings of this assignment are said to underscore the need for growers and others in the cucumber distribution chain to comply with the FDA’s Produce Safety Rule, as applicable, and for importers of cucumbers to comply with the FDA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) Rule, as applicable. This assignment concluded prior to the applicable Produce Safety Rule and FSVP Rule compliance dates. The agency has published draft guidance to help industry comply with these rules.
The Produce Safety Rule draft guidance and the FSVP Rule draft guidance are available on the FDA’s website. The FDA has said it will continue to work with cucumber growers and distributors to make them aware of the findings of this assignment and to provide additional information on resources and steps to mitigate contamination of cucumbers.
The full report is on the FDA Microbiological Surveillance Sampling page.