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Laboratory detection of Cryptosporidium parvum in foodstuffs - an inter–laboratory evaluation study

Project Reference: Synergy project

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: July, 2003

Project Duration: 12 months


Scientific knowledge on the prevalence of Cryptosporidium parvum and methods for the detection of the organism in food are still limited. Considered to be an emerging pathogen in Europe’s food and water chain, the actual risk it poses has yet to be fully determined. This project involved the development of an optimised protocol for the detection of Cryptosporidium parvum in vegetables for routine laboratory testing.

The laboratories involved tested over one thousand samples of locally grown lettuce for this intestinal parasite. The occurrence was determined to be low (2% of samples); nonetheless, it highlighted the requirement for horticultural producers of lettuce to evaluate their HACCP systems to prevent contamination with this parasite.

Principal Contractor(s):

Dr John Moore, Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory

Dr Fiona Kenny, Sligo Public Health Laboratory


Single supplier


Peer Reviews:

Moore, J.E., Millar, B.C., Kenny, F., Lowery, C., Xiao, L., Rao, J.R., Nicholson, V., Watabe, M., Heaney, N., Sunnotel, O., McCorry, K., Rooney, P., Snelling, W.J. and Dooley, J.S.G., Detection of Cryptosporidium parvum in lettuce. Int. J Fd Sci & Tech, 42(4): 385-393, 2007.

Snelling, W.J., Rooney, P.J., Lowery, C.J., Dooley, J.S.G., Rao, J.R., Millar, B.C., Sunnotel, O., Xiao, L., Buckley, T., Moore, J.E., Improved monitoring of water-associated cryptosporidiosis in Ireland. Ir. Med. J. 100 (5): 454-455, 2007.

Sunnotel, O., Lowery, C.J., Moore, J.E., Dooley, J.S., Xiao, L., Millar, B.C., Rooney, P.J. and Snelling, W.J., Cryptosporidium. Lett. Appl. Microbiol., 43(1): 7-16, 2006.

Snelling, W.J., Xiao, L., Ortega-Pierres, G., Lowery, C.J., Moore, J.E., Rao, J.R., Smyth, S., Millar, B.C., Rooney, P.J., Matsuda, M., Kenny, F., Xu, J. and Dooley, J.S., Cryptosporidiosis in developing countries. J Infect Dev Ctries., 1(3): 242-56, 2007.

Sunnotel, O., Snelling, W.J., Xiao, L., Moule, K., Moore, J.E., Millar, B.C., Dooley, J.S. and Lowery, C.J., Rapid and sensitive detection of single cryptosporidium oocysts from archived glass slides. J Clin Microbiol., 44(9): 3285-91, 2006.

Shigematsu, M., Nagano, Y., Millar, B.C., Kenny, F., Lowery, C.J., Xiao, L., Rao, J.R., Nicholson, V., Watanabe, M., Heaney, N., Sunnotel, O., McCorry, K., Rooney, P.J., Snelling, W., Dooley, J.S., Elborn, J., Matsuda, M. and Moore, J., Molecular detection and identification of Cryptosporidium species in lettuce employiing nested small-subunit rRNA PCR and direct automated sequencing. Br J Biomed Sci., 64(3): 133-135, 2007.

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