2016 Volume 4 Issue 2 Pages 45-51
Consumer demand for shiitake mushrooms is increasing. However, food safety information regarding the prevalence of microbial pathogens on the products sold via the Internet or at local retail markets is limited. The present study was conducted to assess the microbial load on shiitake mushrooms sold through the Internet and at local (central Virginia) retail markets. A total of 90 shiitake mushroom products, consisting of locally-purchased whole (LW) and sliced (LS) and Internet-procured whole (IW), sliced (IS), and powdered (IP) forms, were tested. High levels of aerobic mesophiles (6.9 ± 1.3 to 7.5 ± 1.1 log CFU/g), yeast and mold (5.8 ± 0.9 to 6.0 ± 0.3 log CFU/g), and coliforms (1.6 ± 1.0 to 1.9 ± 1.1 log MPN/g) were found in locally-acquired mushrooms. One LW sample and 2 of LS contained Listeria spp. Our findings suggest that shiitake mushroom producers and retailers need to be aware of potential microbial hazards associated with handling fresh shiitake mushrooms and consumers should take appropriate precautions when handling fresh shiitake mushrooms to prevent cross-contamination and possible foodborne illness in the home.