Contamination of vegetables, fruits and soil with geohelmints eggs on organic farms in Poland

Department of Water and Soli Safety, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Laboratory for Parasitoses of Domestic Animals, Institute of Parasitology Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2012;19(3):421–425
The objective of this study was to evaluate the contamination of vegetables, fruits and soil with zoonotic parasite eggs on organic and conventional farms in south-eastern Poland. To evaluate the contamination with eggs of zoonotic parasites, examinations were conducted on 8 conventional and 11 organic farms in south-eastern Poland from May – October in 2008 and 2009. The following fruit and vegetables were selected for the experiment: strawberry, leek, onion, carrot, zucchini, beetroot, parsley, potatoes, celery, rhubarb, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, young beetroot leaves, cauliflower, French beans, turnip, fennel and sorrel. A total of 187 samples of vegetables, fruits and soil were examined by means of a modified flotation method according to Quinn et al. (1980). Contamination with Ascaris, Trichuris and Toxocara eggs was found, with a higher number of positive samples revealed on conventional (34.7%), compared to organic farms (18.9%). The level of contamination in soil samples from conventional farms was higher (88.5% positive samples), than of those from organic farms (32.8%). Of the 15 geohelmints eggs, positive samples were found in vegetables: 9 Toxocara eggs, 4 Ascaris eggs and 2 Trichuris eggs. No geohelmints eggs were observed in the strawberry samples. The consumption of vegetables and fruits contaminated with the eggs of parasites may be the cause of parasitoses in humans. Stricter sanitary standards on farms of all types may limit the incidence of parasitic zoonoses.
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