Outbreaks of food-borne listeriosis have often involved strains of serotype 4b. Examination of multiple isolates from three different outbreaks revealed that ca. 11 to 29% of each epidemic population consisted of strains which were negative with the serotype-specific monoclonal antibody c74.22, lacked galactose from the teichoic acid of the cell wall, and were resistant to the serotype 4b-specific phage 2671.
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In February 1999, an outbreak of listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes serotype 3a occurred in Finland. All isolates were identical. The outbreak strain was first isolated in 1997 in dairy butter. This dairy began delivery to a tertiary care hospital (TCH) in June 1998. From June 1998 to April 1999, 25 case patients were identified (20 with sepsis, 4 with meningitis, and 1 with abscess; 6 patients died). Patients with the outbreak strain were more likely to have been admitted to the TCH than were patients with other strains of L. monocytogenes (60% vs. 8%; odds ratio, 17.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.8-136.8). Case patients admitted to the TCH had been hospitalized longer before cultures tested positive than had matched controls (median, 31 vs. 10 days; P=.008). An investigation found the outbreak strain in packaged butter served at the TCH and at the source dairy. Recall of the product ended the outbreak.
An outbreak of listeriosis in Sweden, consisting of nine cases, was investigated by means of molecular typing of strains from patients and strains isolated from suspected foodstuffs, together with interviews of the patients. Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from six of the patients, and all isolates were of the same clonal type. This clonal type was also isolated from a "gravad" rainbow trout, made by producer Y, found in the refrigerator of one of the patients. Unopened packages obtained from producer Y were also found to contain the same clonal type of L. monocytogenes. Based on the interview results and the bacteriological typing, we suspect that at least six of the nine cases were caused by gravad or cold-smoked rainbow trout made by producer Y. To our knowledge, this is the first rainbow trout-borne outbreak of listeriosis ever reported.
In order to see whether the susceptibility of Danish Listeria monocytogenes strains has changed over the years we examined a collection of human isolates from the period 1958-2001. We, furthermore, wanted to compare L. monocytogenes susceptibility testing using a disc diffusion assay with MIC measurements performed by the E-test. 106 strains isolated predominantly from blood cultures and cerebrospinal fluids were examined together with three reference strains. Susceptibility to the following antibiotics was tested by the E-test and by Oxoid discs using Iso-sensitest agar: penicillin G, ampicillin, meropenem, gentamicin, sulphamethoxazole, trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, vancomycin, linezolid, chloramphenicol and tetracycline. The strains were in the main sensitive to all antibiotics examined using both methods, except for ciprofloxacin, where the strains were intermediate sensitive. However, for penicillin, ampicillin and sulphamethoxazole, while the disc diffusion assay found the strains to be sensitive, MIC measurements generally placed the strains one dilution above the breakpoint for sensitivity in the intermediate sensitive group. Based on the MIC measurements, the antibiotic susceptibility of L. monocytogenes has not changed in Denmark from 1958 to 2001, and the multiresistant strains found in human infections elsewhere have not been found in Denmark.
The natural microflora of cold-smoked fish at the end of shelf-life are lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Some of these display a capacity to inhibit spoilage as well as several strains of pathogenic micro-organisms, e.g. Listeria monocytogenes which is isolated frequently from cold-smoked salmon (CSS). Eight batches of sliced vacuum-packed CSS from Norway, Scotland and Spain were collected at retail. Packs were stored at 5 degrees C and examined for chemical and microbiological characteristics, at purchase date and at expiration date. pH, water activity and salt content were similar to available data on lightly preserved fish products. There was a consistent pattern in the development of the microflora on CSS; the initial level of LAB was low on freshly produced CSS (10(2) cfu g(-1)); however, storage in vacuum packaging at refrigeration temperature was elective for LAB. At the end of the stated shelf-life these micro-organisms, represented mainly by Lactobacillus spp., attained ca.10(7) cfu g(-1) while Enterobacteriaceae counts were consistently lower (10(5) cfu g(-1)), which indicates the ability of LAB to grow and compete with few carbohydrates available and in the presence of moderate salt concentrations. L. monocytogenes was not found in any sample. Forty-one percent of LAB strains isolated exhibited inhibitory capacity against Listeria innocua, in a plate assay. A majority of the inhibitory effects were non-bacteriocinogenic, but nevertheless were very competitive cultures which may provide an additional hurdle for improved preservation by natural means.
The objective of this study was to evaluate (eO), a biological time temperature integrator (TTI) as a quality and safety indicator for ground beef packed under modified atmosphere and spiced cooked chicken slices packed under modified atmosphere. Storage trials and challenge tests were thus performed on several batches of the studied food to monitor and model the behavior of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and the indigenous food flora. Then, two different prototypes of the TTI (eO) were set and manufactured according to the studied products shelf lives. The TTI evolution with time at static and dynamic temperatures was monitored and modeled. Finally, exposure assessment models were set and used under several realistic storage profiles to assess the distributions of the concentration of the indigenous food flora and the distributions of the increase in the pathogens populations obtained at the end of the product shelf life or at the end point of the TTI, taking into account the TTIs batch variability. Results showed that in case of poor storage conditions, TTI can reduce the consumer exposure to altered or hazardous foods.
Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter and Yersinia species, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium perfringens are the bacterial pathogens constituting the greatest burden of food-borne disease in Finland. Several molecular genetic methods have been applied to diagnose, discriminate and survey these bacteria. PCR, PCR-RFLP and PFGE are the most widely and successfully used. However, these methods are unable to replace conventional and internationally standardised phenotyping. Electronic database libraries of the different genomic profiles will enable continuous surveillance of infections and detection of possible infection clusters at an early stage. Furthermore, whole-genome sequence data have opened up new insights into epidemiological surveillance. Laboratory-based surveillance performed in a timely manner and exploiting adequate methods, and co-operation at local, national and international levels are among the key elements in preventing food-borne diseases. This paper reviews different applications of molecular genetic methods for investigating enteric bacterial pathogens and gives examples of the methods successfully used in diagnostics and epidemiological studies in Finland.
A total of 245 strains of Listeria monocytogenes were investigated. These strains were isolated from human and animal cases of listeriosis as well as from different kinds of raw and processed foods. Thirty-three electrophoretic types (ETs) were identified among the 245 strains. The strains investigated included all human clinical strains isolated in Denmark during 1989 and 1990. Seventy-three percent of the strains isolated in this period were assigned to one of only two ETs (ET 1 and ET 4). ET 1, which was found to be the most frequently occurring ET among strains isolated from human clinical cases, was also found to occur rather frequently in animal clinical cases. ET 1 was, however, found only sporadically among strains isolated from foods and food factories. The data indicate that there might be something distinctive about the physiology or ecology of the ET 1 clone which makes it more likely to bring about disease in human beings either because of high pathogenicity or because of a special ability to multiply to infectious doses in processed foods. Another type, designated ET 4, was found to be the next most frequently occurring ET, after ET 1, among human clinical isolates. This could be explained by the fact that ET 4 was found to be the most frequently occurring ET within food isolates.
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Cites: Appl Environ Microbiol. 1986 May;51(5):873-842425735
Consumption of packaged fresh leafy vegetables, which are convenient ready-to-eat products, has increased during the last decade. The number of foodborne outbreaks associated with these products has concurrently increased. In our study, (1) label information, (2) O2/CO2 composition, (3) bacterial quality and (4) safety of 100 fresh leafy vegetables at the retail level were studied in Finland during 2013. Bacterial quality was studied using aerobic bacteria (AB) and coliform bacteria (CB) counts, and searching for the presence of Escherichia coli, Listeria and Yersinia. The safety was studied by the presence of Salmonella, ail-positive Yersinia, stx-positive E. coli (STEC) and Listeria monocytogenes using PCR and culturing. Important label information was unavailable on several packages originating from different companies. The packaging date was missing on all packages and the date of durability on 83% of the packages. Storage temperature was declared on 62% of the packages and 73% of the packages contained information about prewashing. The batch/lot number was missing on 29% of the packages. Very low oxygen (O2) (
Portuguese chouriço de vinho is made by drying coarsely minced meat and fat that has been previously marinated with wine (usually red), salt, and garlic for 1 to 2 days at a low temperature (4 to 8 °C). This procedure may improve the microbiological safety of the product. The aim of this study was to evaluate the behavior of three pathogens in this product, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, to establish the minimum period of drying and maturation necessary to render safe products. The pathogens were inoculated in the chouriço de vinho batter. A factorial design was used to study the following variables in the fermentation process: (i) the presence or absence of an indigenous Lactobacillus sakei starter culture; (ii) the presence or absence of fermentable carbohydrates; and (iii) the salt level (1.5 or 3%). The samples were analyzed 24 h after the preparation of the batter (at stuffing); after 7, 15, and 30 days of drying; and after 30 days of storage at 4 °C under vacuum. Under all of the conditions studied, the levels of the three pathogens decreased during the drying period. In the early stages of drying, the addition of L. sakei starter culture and/or carbohydrates resulted in lower levels of gram-positive pathogens. After 15 days of drying, populations of all pathogens decreased by ca. 2 log in all samples. At that sampling time, L. monocytogenes was undetectable in the chouriço de vinho with L. sakei starter culture and carbohydrates. The mean count of S. aureus after 15 days of drying was below 1 log CFU/g. After 30 days of drying, no pathogens were detected. The drying period could be shortened to 15 days when considering only the gram-positive pathogens studied and the use of a starter culture and carbohydrates. Due to the low infective dose of Salmonella spp., the product should be considered safe after 30 days, when this pathogen became undetectable.