Advertisement

Microbial Quality of Food Available to Populations of Differing Socioeconomic Status

      Background

      Low SES has been shown to be linked to poorer-quality diets, decreased consumption of fresh produce, and an increased reliance on small retail stores.

      Purpose

      The objective of this research was to determine if there is a difference in the microbial quality and potential safety of food available to low-SES versus high-SES populations at the retail level.

      Methods

      Aerobic plate count (APC); yeast and mold counts (Y&M); and total coliforms were determined in ready-to-eat (RTE) greens, precut watermelon, broccoli, strawberries, cucumbers, milk, and orange juice and compared among products purchased in stores in low- versus those purchased in high-SES neighborhoods between June 2005 and September 2006. APC, fecal coliforms, and E. coli in ground beef and the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken were also compared.

      Results

      Results showed higher microbial loads on produce from markets in low-SES areas. Significant differences observed included (1) APC and Y&M in RTE greens, (2) APC and Y&M in strawberries, and (3) YMCs in cucumbers. No difference was detected in the level of pathogens in raw meat and poultry; however, the APC in ground beef available in high-SES markets was significantly higher compared with that found in low-SES markets.

      Conclusions

      The results presented here indicate that populations of low SES may be more likely to experience produce of poorer microbial quality, which may have an impact on both the appeal and potential safety of the produce.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Algert S.J.
        • Agrawal A.
        • Lewis D.S.
        Disparities in access to fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
        Am J Prev Med. 2006; 30: 365-370
        • Moore L.V.
        • Diez Roux A.V.
        Associations of neighborhood characteristics with the location and type of food store.
        Am J Public Health. 2006; 96: 325-331
        • Zenk S.N.
        • Schulz A.J.
        • Israel B.A.
        • James S.A.
        • Bao S.
        • Wilson M.L.
        Fruit and vegetable access differs by community racial composition and socioeconomic position in Detroit, Michigan.
        Ethn Dis. 2006; 16: 275-280
        • Baker E.A.
        • Kelly C.
        • Barnidge E.
        • et al.
        The Garden of Eden: acknowledging the impact of race and class in efforts to decrease obesity rates.
        Am J Public Health. 2006; 96: 1170-1174
        • Baker E.A.
        • Schootman M.
        • Barnridge E.
        • Kelly C.
        The role of race and poverty in access to foods that enable individuals to adhere to dietary guidelines.
        Prev Chronic Dis [serial online]. 2006 Jul;
        • Hedley A.A.
        • Ogden C.L.
        • Johnson C.L.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Curtin L.R.
        • Flegal K.M.
        Prevalence of overweight and obesity among U.S. children, adolescents, and adults, 1999–2002.
        JAMA. 2004; 291: 2847-2850
        • Lucove J.C.
        • Kaufman J.S.
        • James S.A.
        Association between adult and childhood socioeconomic status and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in African Americans: the Pitt county study.
        Am J Public Health. 2007; 97: 234-236
        • Robbins J.M.
        • Vaccarino V.
        • Zhang H.
        • Kasl S.V.
        Socioeconomic status and type 2 diabetes in African American and non-Hispanic white women and men: evidence from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
        Am J Public Health. 2001; 91: 76-83
        • Zenk S.N.
        • Schulz A.J.
        • Israel B.A.
        • James S.A.
        • Bao S.
        • Wilson M.L.
        Neighborhood racial composition, neighborhood poverty, and the spatial accessibility of supermarkets in metropolitan Detroit.
        Am J Public Health. 2005; 95: 660-667
        • Pothukuchi K.
        • Mohamed R.
        • Gebben D.A.
        Explaining disparities in food safety compliance by food stores: does community matter?.
        Agric Hum Values. 2008; 25: 319-332
        • Yapp C.
        • Fairman R.
        Factors affecting food safety compliance within small and medium-sized enterprises: implications for regulatory and enforcement strategies.
        Food Cont. 2006; 17: 42-51
        • Pierson M.D.
        • Zink D.L.
        • Smoot L.M.
        Indicator microorganisms and microbiological criteria.
        in: Doyle M.P. Beuchat L.R. Food microbiology fundamentals and frontiers. ASM Press, Washington DC2007: 69-85
        • U.S. Census Bureau
        • U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Bacteriological Analytical Manual
      1. U.S. Department of Agriculture–Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA–FSIS). 2004. Isolation and identification of Salmonella from meat and poultry and egg products. USDA–FSIS, Office of Public Health Science. MLG4.03.

        • McSwane D.
        • Rue N.
        • Linton R.
        Essentials of food safety & sanitation.
        3rd ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ2003
        • Chrystal N.D.
        • Hargraves S.J.
        • Boa A.C.
        • Ironside C.J.
        Counts of Campylobacter spp. and prevalence of Salmonella associated with New Zealand broiler carcasses.
        J Food Prot. 2007; 71: 2526-2532
        • King S.
        • Adams M.C.
        Incidence of Campylobacter in processed poultry: is it a concern for human health?.
        J Food Saf. 2008; 28: 376-388
        • Waldroup A.L.
        Contamination of raw poultry with pathogens.
        Worlds Poult Sci J. 1996; 52: 7-25
        • Zhao C.
        • Ge B.
        • De Villena J.
        • et al.
        Prevalence of Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli, and Salmonella serovars in retail chicken, turkey, pork, and beef from the greater Washington, D.C., Area.
        Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001; 67: 5431-5436