The risk of contamination with norovirus is high in fresh fruits and vegetables especially in the event of exposure to water that is used to dilute pesticides, a recent insight has revealed.
The report, led by Katharina Verhaelen of the National Institute for Health and the Environment, says "Water containing hNoV [human norovirus] used to dilute pesticides may be an important source of infectious hNoV in fresh produce chains. The application of pesticides may therefore not only be a chemical hazard, but also a microbiological hazard for public health."
lettuces and soft berries are highly prone to risk of norovirus contamination as viruses thrive on them even if they are refrigerated or frozen.
Presently, farmers have been asked to conduct an annual risk assessment on all water sources and ensure a microbiological analysis on medium to high-risk sources.
A current evaluation of the present condition of the supply chain is need of the hour as most studies are based on research done 15 years back.