The Potential for Acquiring Cryptosporidiosis or Giardiosis From Consumption of Mung Bean Sprouts in Norway

The potential for acquiring cryptosporidiosis or giardiosis from consumption of mung bean sprouts in Norway: a preliminary step-wise risk assessment.
Int J Food Microbiol. 2005 Feb 15;98(3):291-300.
Robertson LJ, Greig JD, Gjerde B, Fazil A.
Parasitology Laboratory, Section of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, PO boks 8146 Dep., N-0033 Oslo, Norway.

The current work evolved from a microbial survey of fruits and vegetables conducted in Norway between 1999 and 2001. This survey found that mung bean sprouts were more likely to be contaminated with Cryptosporidium and Giardia than the other produce included in the survey. To support this observation and to demonstrate to public health officials that this might be a risk warranting further attention, a simple risk assessment was initiated. Assuming that 60,000 people in Norway consume a single serving of bean sprouts per week, and contamination levels are similar to those found in the survey, it was calculated that there could be in the order of 20 cases of Giardia or Cryptosporidium infection per 100,000 population attributable to consumption of mung bean sprouts. A number of assumptions were made for the calculations, including parasite factors (e.g. viability, genotype), product factors (e.g. extent of product contamination) and host factors (e.g. composition and extent of consumer group). These assumptions and areas of uncertainty, where further data would improve the risk assessment, are highlighted throughout. Not only does the risk assessment identify new areas of research, but it also demonstrates how risk assessment can be used as a tool to try to influence public health surveillance.