VIRAL CONTAMINATION IN MUSSEL PRODUCTION CHAIN ON THE SLOVENIAN COASTLINE

Mateja Ambrožič, Urška Henigman, Mojca Jevšnik, Andrej Kirbiš, Peter Raspor

Abstract


Noroviruses (NoVs) and Hepatitis A virus (HAV) are significant agents of foodborne human viral illness worldwide, both as agents of greatest concern from the consumption of shellfish. In the framework of official national monitoring shellfish samples have been collected since 2013 to determine the spread of NoVs and HAV. Contamination of shellfish samples with NoVs varied from 25% in year 2014 to 40% in year 2015. HAV was not found in any of the analyzed samples, which correlates with the low number of human infections in Slovenia. Alongside official surveillance, semi-structured interviews were carried out with local shellfish farmers regarding this subject. The qualitative analysis highlighted that Slovenian shellfish farmers are aware of food safety hazards, especially associated with hazards to primary production, but only in the context of Escherichia coli as an indicator microorganism, and not in the concept of viral food safety. Despite detected foodborne viruses in shellfish on the Slovenian market, local farmers are not aware of or do not recognize foodborne viruses as distinctive food safety hazards. It can be concluded that local farmers possess knowledge and information of critical points in the mussels food supply chain connected to food safety in general. However, in particular, they are not familiar with viruses that represent barrier and consequently critical point to food safety management practices. Training and education on all important aspects of viral food safety according to the current recommendations is strongly recommended for all actors within the shellfish supply chain.

Key words: mussel farmer; Slovenia; official control; food safety; foodborne viruses; semi-structured personal interviews

 

OKUŽBA Z VIRUSI V PROIZVODNO-OSKRBOVALNI VERIGI ŠKOLJK NA SLOVENSKI OBALI

Med živili, ki so pogosto povezana z norovirusnimi izbruhi in izbruhi hepatitisa A svetovnih razsežnosti, so tudi školjke. V okviru uradnega nadzora v Sloveniji od leta 2013 vzorčimo školjke, pri katerih se ugotavlja prisotnost norovirusov in virusov hepatitisa A. Prisotnost norovirusne RNK je bila ugotovljena v 25 % testiranih vzorcih v letu 2014 do 40 % v letu 2015. Prisotnosti virusov hepatitisa A ni bilo možno potrditi v nobenem od analiziranih vzorcev, kar povezujemo z nizkim številom okužb pri ljudeh v Sloveniji. Poleg ugotavljanja prisotnosti norovirusov in virusov hepatitisa A v školjkah smo opravili tudi polstrukturirane intervjuje s slovenskimi školjkarji. Kvalitativna analiza je razkrila, da se slovenski školjkarji zavedajo možnih tveganj na področju gojenja školjk, ampak samo v povezavi s prisotnostjo bakterije Escherichia coli kot indikatorskega mikroorganizma in biotoksinov. Kljub ugotovljeni prisotnosti norovirusne RNK v školjkah, prisotnih na slovenskem tržišču, lokalni školjkarji ne prepoznajo virusov kot dejavnikov tveganja, pomembnih za zagotavljanje varnosti živil. Ugotovitve kažejo, da se lokalni školjkarji zavedajo možnih mikrobioloških tveganj na področju gojenja školjk. Vendar pa kljub temu ne prepoznajo virusov kot možnih dejavnikov tveganja, kar izpostavi pomembnost kontinuiranega, rednega usposabljanja in izobraževanja pri obvladovanju virusnih okužb v proizvodni in oskrbovalni verigi školjk.

Ključne besede: školjkar; Slovenija; uradni nadzor; varnost živil; virusi v hrani; polstrukturirani pogovor


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