Produce-associated foodborne disease outbreaks have increased worldwide highlighting the importance of proper implementation of risk management practices (RMP). We determined the relationship between environmental characteristics (i.e., physical resources) of produce farms and implementation of RMP.
Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses principles, we identified 36 studies to include in our analysis. Most study data were collected through surveys administered to growers in developed countries. Quality assessment results showed that studies on this topic should be more rigorously conducted (e.g., powering sample sizes and training data collectors) to yield better quality evidence. Agricultural waters were the most common environmental characteristic assessed, with many farms using unsafe water sources. Hygiene aids (e.g., accessible handwashing facilities), were lacking across many farms. Animal intrusion RMP were the least commonly assessed environmental characteristic. Only one study tested the relationship between on-farm environmental characteristics and RMP implementation reporting a positive relationship between accessible handwashing and worker hygiene practices.
Grower knowledge and perception of RMP combined with cost and ease in carrying out RMP might influence the availability of physical resources for proper RMP implementation. These results can inform practical interventions aimed to increase adoption of RMP on produce farms.
The relationship between environmental characteristics and risk management practices on produce farms: A systematic literature review
Dilhani Nisansala Jayawardhana 1 , Loan Thi Thanh Cao 2 , Thomas A. Yeargin 3 , Kristen E. Gibson 3 and Angela M. Fraser 1,*