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Agronomía Costarricense

Print version ISSN 0377-9424


DURAN-QUIROS, Alfredo; GONZALEZ-LUTZ, María Isabel; MORA-ACEDO, Dennis  and  VARGAS-HERNANDEZ, Guillermo. Field assessment of risks of microbiologic pollution in horticultural systems at the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2016, vol.40, n.2, pp.129-146. ISSN 0377-9424.

During 2012 and 2013, a study was conducted involving 164 vegetable production systems, located in all farming areas of the Central Valley of Costa Rica. It aimed to establish the degree of compliance by producers, of critical points related to the risk of microbiological contamination. A list was made of 38 critical events located along the entire production chain, with which a survey tool was designed and passed on to producers of tomato, sweet peper, lettuce, celery and coriander. A frequency analysis was made with the results, which showed that most of the producers of tomato and sweet pepper use organic fertilizers that include animal wastes. In addition, there is a serious deficiency in sanitation, being a greater problem in the countryside than in the baler; the lock of hand-washing sinks is worst than of toilets. Most respondents have loose domestic pets in the production area. About 30% of companies only have river or creek water for the basic needs of field workers. Most of these companies, regardless of crop, use rivers and creeks as their main source of water for irrigation. Only a small percentage of de the assessed companies have a well or store water. Almost all respondent’s farms are located in areas with high levels of human population, widespread presence of dwelling houses and of land used for livestock production. Serious problems in the cleaning of plastic containers used in harvest were detected. The study confirms the existence of a large number of unsuitable conditions in the management of vegetable crops, which increase the risk of contamination of the horticultural product.

Keywords : Critical points; safety; microorganisms; microbiological contamination risk; vegetables.

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