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Changes in the Field Can Cut Food Contamination

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Small shifts in agricultural practices can increase or reduce the risk of salmonella and listeria contamination on produce, new research shows.

For example, applying manure within a year of harvesting produce boosts the odds of contaminating a field with salmonella, which is the biggest single killer among the foodborne microbes, report the researchers. In addition, irrigating fields within three days and cultivating fields within a week of harvest significantly raised the risk of Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

However, establishing a buffer zone between fields and potential pathogen reservoirs, such as livestock operations or waterways, was found to be protective against salmonella the study reveals.

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