As peoples taste for exotic foods increases, so too does health risk

continuing for a week. Shigella sonnei is the most common strain associated with disease each year in the United States. Shigella boydii is associated with Mexico and South America.

Why shigella is so difficult to remove from parsley and cilantro is being studied. The pathogen may create a biofilm, similar to dental plaque, which clings firmly to the produce, Agle said. Irradiating parsley successfully removed pathogens but left it with a slightly cooked texture that many people may not find as palatable as raw parsley, she said.

"The message from this research is pretty clear," said Hans P. Blaschek, head of the UI department of food science and human nutrition, who supervises the lab where Agle works. "People need to properly store their fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator and, more importantly, wash them thoroughly. The actual physical manipulation of the produce during the washing process appears to be the most important factor in removal of the pathogen."


Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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