The consumption of raw vegetables is related to health benefits. However, these foods might be source of foodborne diseases. The objective of the present study was to perform a microbiological and parasitological evaluation of the leafy vegetables commercially sold in five regions of Brazil at public wholesale markets. The 12 types of leafy vegetables (144 samples) were curly lettuce, looseleaf lettuce, red lettuce, chives, coriander, kale, basil, arugula, parsley, iceberg lettuce, chicory, and bean sprouts. The prevalences of total coliforms (88 to 100%) and thermotolerant coliforms (37 to 100%) were high, but Salmonella was not detected in any of the analyzed samples. All open markets sold vegetables contaminated with enteroparasites, mainly Entamoeba sp., Balantidium coli, Strongyloides sp., Ascaris sp., Enterobius vermicularis, and Ancylostomidae. Contamination was detected in all the regions (north, northeast, central west, southeast, and south) and types of vegetables, with higher prevalences in the northeast region, mainly in basil, lettuce, and chives. Contamination of vegetables by potentially pathogenic microorganisms is a national problem, and the distribution centers should improve quality control of these commercial vegetables. Considering the high frequency of enteroparasites and bacteria and the potential risk of disease transmitted by vegetables, we suggest greater enforcement of the sanitary surveillance of food offered to the public.

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