Background: Raw or minimally processed vegetables can be important vehicles of food-borne parasites. The main purpose of the present study was to investigate the parasitic infections in raw vegetables from Kermanshah, Western Iran and their relation with season and washing procedures.
Methods: From January to December 2013, raw vegetable samples were collected from Kermanshah, Western Iran. The samples were divided inthree different groups, including unwashed, traditionally washed, and standard washed groups. After preparation of the samples, they were examined microscopically for the presence of parasites. Using Chi-square test, the analysis was carried out by SPSS software for windows(version 16.0).
Results: With regards to washing procedures of vegetable samples, intestinal parasites were found in 63.7, 49.1, and 36.9% of unwashed, traditionally washed, and standard washed samples, respectively showing a statistically significant difference (p<0.05). A meaningful difference (p<0.05) was observed in the contamination rate of samples during various seasons as summer>spring>autumn>winter. However, no significant relationship was found between contamination rates and types of vegetables (p>0.05). Conclusion: Raw vegetables sold in major markets in Kermanshah, Western Iran could be considered as potential vehicles for transmission of parasitic infections to consumers. Regular education must be applied about standard washing and disinfecting procedures of the raw eaten vegetables to reduce exposure of Iranian population to the vegetable-borne parasites.