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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 219534, 7 pages
Research Article

Microbiological Quality of Fresh Produce from Open Air Markets and Supermarkets in the Philippines

1Institute of Biology, College of Science, University of the Philippines, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
2Natural Sciences Research Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
3International Environmental Analysis and Education Center, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, 261 Cheomdan-Gwagiro, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea

Received 11 January 2014; Revised 6 April 2014; Accepted 29 April 2014; Published 13 May 2014

Academic Editor: Heléne Norder

Copyright © 2014 Pierangeli G. Vital et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study is the first in the Philippines to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the prevalence of bacterial pathogens and somatic phages in retailed fresh produce used in salad preparation, namely, bell pepper, cabbage, carrot, lettuce, and tomato, using culture and molecular methods. Out of 300 samples from open air and supermarkets, 16.7% tested positive for thermotolerant Escherichia coli, 24.7% for Salmonella spp., and 47% for somatic phages. Results show that counts range from 0.30 to 4.03 log10 CFU/g for E. coli, 0.66 to ≥2.34 log10 MPN/g for Salmonella spp., and 1.30 to ≥3.00 log10 PFU/g for somatic phages. Statistical analyses show that there was no significant difference in the microbial counts between open air and supermarkets ( ). TaqMan and AccuPower Plus DualStar real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to confirm the presence of these organisms. The relatively high prevalence of microorganisms observed in produce surveyed signifies reduction in shelf-life and a potential hazard to food safety. This information may benefit farmers, consumers, merchants, and policy makers for foodborne disease detection and prevention.