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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


GONZALEZ-LUTZ, María Isabel; VARGAS-HERNANDEZ, Guillermo; DURAN-QUIROS, Alfredo  and  MORA-ACEDO, Dennis. Design of a system to quantify contamination risks and its use in identifying critical control points in horticultural crops in Costa Rica. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2015, vol.39, n.2, pp.153-166. ISSN 0377-9424.

An analysis was made of the chain of processes and sub-processes in the production systems of vegetables for fresh consumption. Forty-four potential risk situations (PRS) were established, which were converted into questions and structured as a survey for growers. The variables and the formula that should be considered to quantify the risk were defined. The survey was conducted with a focus group of 70 produce growers in 13 different regions of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. A panel of experts was used to assess the risk level they felt the different survey-evaluated aspects could generate for end-product safety; the results identified the critical control points. From the Kooper survey's statistical validation, the factor analysis identified a single factor explaining 10% of the variance. The value obtained for Cronbach's Alpha was 0.9150, so the survey had a high level of reliability. The results on a 0-100 scale indicate that, for the evaluated population, all the produce-growing areas have high contamination risk levels. Llano Grande in Cartago Province has the lowest risk, with a value of 49, and the eastern Heredia Province area has the highest, with a value of 71. The results also confirmed high risk values in all evaluated crops, tomatoes showing the highest risk, with a value of 64; and celery having the lowest risk, with a value of 54.

Keywords : Potential risk situations; contamination risks; critical control points; horticultural crops; harmlessness..

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