Journal of Applied Microbiology, Vol.126, No.4, 996-1010, 2019
Key characteristics of foods with an elevated risk for viral enteropathogen contamination
Viral enteropathogens are one of the leading causative agents of foodborne illnesses in both the United States and the European Union. While human noroviruses and hepatitis A virus cause the vast majority of outbreaks and illnesses, there are handful of human enteric viruses that contribute to sporadic outbreaks worldwide including astrovirus, sapovirus, rotavirus, enterovirus and Aichi virus. In addition, hepatitis E virus is increasingly being recognized as an emerging zoonotic threat within the food supply. This review aims to briefly describe the primary human enteric viruses of concern with respect to foodborne transmission. Next, we focus on the contamination and persistence of these viruses within three high-risk food commodities-leafy greens, soft red fruits and bivalve mollusks. As opposed to detailing the specific routes by which these foods can be contaminated with enteric viruses, we have chosen to focus on their persistence and specific interactions within the food itself. Therefore, the processes of attachment and internalization of the viruses in foods have been emphasized. Looking forward, the implications of these specific interactions of human enteric viruses with leafy greens, soft red fruits and bivalve mollusks are briefly considered within the context of future prevention and control strategies.