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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


VARGAS-HERNANDEZ, Guillermo; DURAN-QUIROS, Alfredo; GONZALEZ-LUTZ, María Isabel  and  MORA-ACEDO, Dennis. Risk profile of microbiological and chemical contamination in the production chain of nine horticultural products for fresh consumption of a group of agricultural companies in the Costa Rican Central Valley.. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2015, vol.39, n.2, pp.105-120. ISSN 0377-9424.

The risk of microbiological or chemical contamination was determined in each of the processes of the production system of produce for fresh consumption, in a population of 164 agricultural companies in the central valley of Costa Rica. The risk quantification was calculated using the responses to a 46-item survey conducted with the managers of the companies included in the study. The responses to the 46 items were grouped according to the production process; the risk contamination calculation formula validated by the authors in another study was used to obtain the risk value per process. The microbiological or chemical contamination risk results were calculated for the land preparation and planting process, cultural management of the crop, human factor performing the cultural management of the crop, phytosanitary control, harvesting, packaging, and the human factor involved in packaging. The risk analysis results indicate that the human factor participating in the packaging obtains the highest risk rating, followed by the cultural management of the crop and, in third place, by the harvesting process. In all processes where the risk was quantified, the results showed values close to or greater than 50 in a 0 to 100 risk scale. These results should alert producers and consumers of produce for fresh consumption in the analyzed population. The effect of the buyer on the packaging risk values was also observed; when the producers are supermarket chain suppliers the risk values are lower as compared to those of producers who are not supermarket chain suppliers.

Keywords : Safety; processes; risk; GAP; market.

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