Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing bacteria are spreading rapidly, posing a threat to human and animal health. Contamination of vegetables with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria or those harboring antimicrobial resistance genes or a combination of both presents a potential route of transmission to humans. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of these bacteria in fresh vegetables in Japan. A total of 130 samples of fresh vegetables were collected from seven supermarkets in Japan. The predominant genus detected was Pseudomonas spp., including 10 ESBL-producing strains, isolated from 10 (7.7%) of the vegetable samples. Two ESBL genes were detected, blaTEM-116 (n = 7) and blaSHV-12 (n = 3), and some of these strains were resistant to multiple antibiotics. Because vegetables are often consumed raw, those contaminated with ESBL producers could represent an important route of transmission to humans in Japan. Thus, more stringent hygiene measures and monitoring are required to prevent transmission via this source.

  • Retail vegetables in Japan are not as frequently contaminated by animal feces.

  • ESBL-producing bacteria were isolated from vegetables (7.7%).

  • Two ESBL genes (blaTEM-116 and blaSHV-12) were detected in vegetables.

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