A key objective of the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program is to reduce the potential for produce to become contaminated with microbial pathogens, such as through irrigation water. Without microbial standards, however, it is impractical to decide whether there is a need to disinfect, a need to institute watershed protection programs, or a need to institute post-harvest disinfection regimes. To develop such standards, quantitative microbial risk assessments can be performed using pathogen monitoring data for produce. This paper presents an approach which can be used towards the application of a risk assessment framework to developing microbial standards for fresh produce. Risks of infection are estimated using typical monitoring data of Salmonella detected on carrots and assuming various scenarios of the likelihood of an individual consuming a contaminated serving of carrots in a given year. Estimated annual risks of infection range from 2.20 × 10−5 to 2.16 × 10−3, assuming 1% and 100% of an individual's carrot servings are contaminated, respectively. In addition, critical factors are identified which need to be incorporated in such a risk assessment approach as well as their impact on risk estimates to provide growers with benchmarks which may be targeted to reduce health risks.

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