Fresh fruits and vegetables are susceptible to microbial contamination at every stage of the food production chain, and as a potential source of pathogens, irrigation water quality is a critical factor. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques have been flourishing and expanding to a wide variety of fields. However, their application in food safety remains insufficiently explored, and their sensitivity requires improvement. In this study, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays showed low but frequent contamination of common circulating viral pathogens, which were found in 46.9% of samples of fresh produce: 6/12 lettuce samples, 4/12 strawberries samples, and 5/8 parsley samples. Furthermore, the application of two different NGS approaches, target enrichment sequencing (TES) for detecting viruses that infect vertebrates and amplicon deep sequencing (ADS), revealed a high diversity of viral pathogens, especially Norovirus (NoV) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV), in fresh produce and irrigation water. All NoV and HPV types found in fresh...

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