Contamination of fresh produce with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and associated risks to human health: A scoping review

Mahbubur Rahman, Mahbub Ul Alam, Sharmin Khan Luies, Abul Kamal, Sharika Ferdous, Audrie Lin, Fazle Sharior, Rizwana Khan, Ziaur Rahman, Sarker Masud Parvez, Nuhu Amin, Rezaul Hasan, Birkneh Tilahun Tadesse, Neelam Taneja, Mohammad Aminul Islam, Ayse Ercumen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Fresh produce, when consumed raw, can be a source of exposure to antimicrobial residues, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) of clinical impor-tance. This review aims to determine: (1) the presence and abundance of antimicrobial residues, ARB and ARGs in fresh agricultural products sold in retail markets and consumed raw; (2) associated health risks in humans; and (3) pathways through which fresh produce becomes contaminated with ARB/ARGs. We searched the Ovid Medline, Web of Science and Hinari databases as well as grey literature, and identified 40 articles for inclusion. All studies investigated the occurrence of multidrug-resistant bacteria, and ten studies focused on ARGs in fresh produce, while none investigated antimicrobial residues. The most commonly observed ARB were E. coli (42.5%) followed by Klebsiella spp. (22.5%), and Salmonella spp. (20%), mainly detected on lettuce. Twenty-five articles mentioned health risks from consuming fresh produce but none quantified the risk. About half of the articles stated produce contamination occurred during pre-and post-harvest processes. Our review indicates that good agricultural and manufacturing practices, behavioural change communication and awareness-raising programs are required for all stakeholders along the food production and consumption supply chain to prevent ARB/ARG exposure through produce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number360
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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