As the number of farmers' markets and other direct-to-consumer marketing channels increases, it is crucial to understand the potential risks associated with consuming directly marketed animal products and fresh produce. The overall aim of this project was to assess the prevalence of Salmonella and Escherichia coli in animal products and produce sold at farmers' markets in Northern California and to evaluate the food safety risks associated with consuming meat (e.g., beef, pork, and poultry) and fresh produce purchased from farmers' markets. Animal products and produce were purchased from a total of 44 certified farmers' markets in Northern California. Salmonella was found in 6 (1.8%) of 338 animal products and in 0 (0%) of 128 produce samples; E. coli was found in 40 (31.3%) of 128 fresh produce samples. E. coli concentration in produce ranged from 0 to 2.96, with an overall average of 0.13 log (most probable number + 1)/100 mL. Salmonella isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid and tetracycline. The results from this study highlight the need for further training on mitigation strategies to reduce contamination of animal products and fresh produce by foodborne pathogens.
All produce samples tested negative for Salmonella.
Six (1.8%) of 338 meat samples tested positive for Salmonella.
E. coli prevalence in produce was 40 (31.3%) of 128 samples tested.
Salmonella isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid and tetracycline.