Understanding potential cattle contribution to leafy green outbreaks: A scoping review of the literature and public health reports

Dogan Ö. B., Flach M. G., Miller M. F., Brashears M. M.

Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, vol.22, no.5, pp.3506-3530, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/1541-4337.13200
  • Journal Name: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, INSPEC, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.3506-3530
  • Keywords: cattle, Escherichia coli O157:H7, nearby/adjacent land use, Salmonella, vegetable row crops
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Recently, multiple reports from regulatory agencies have linked leafy green outbreaks to nearby or adjacent cattle operations. While they have made logical explanations for this phenomenon, the reports and data should be summarized to determine if the association was based on empirical data, epidemiological association, or speculation. Therefore, this scoping review aims to gather data on the mechanisms of transmission for pathogens from livestock to produce, identify if direct evidence linking the two entities exists, and identify any knowledge gaps in the scientific literature and public health reports. Eight databases were searched systematically and 27 eligible primary research products, which focus on produce safety concerning proximity to livestock, provided empirical or epidemiological association and described mechanisms of transmission, qualitatively or quantitatively were retained. Fifteen public health reports were also covered. Results from the scientific articles provided evidence that proximity to livestock might be a risk factor; however, most lack quantitative data on the relative contribution of different pathways for contamination. Public health reports mainly indicate livestock presence as a possible source and encourage further research. Although the collected information regarding the proximity of cattle is a concern, data gaps indicate that more studies should be conducted to determine the relative contribution of different mechanisms of contamination and generate quantitative data to inform food safety risk analyses, regarding leafy greens produced nearby livestock areas.