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Fate of Listeria monocytogenes on fully ripened Greek Graviera cheese stored at 4, 12, or 25 degrees C in air or vacuum packages: in situ PCR detection of a cocktail of bacteriocins potentially contributing to pathogen inhibition.
The behavior of Listeria monocytogenes on fully ripened Greek Graviera cheese was evaluated. Three batches (A, B, and C) were tested. Batches A and C were prepared with a commercial starter culture, while in batch B the starter culture was combined with an enterocin-producing Enterococcus faecium Graviera isolate. Cheese pieces were surface inoculated with a five-strain cocktail of L. monocytogenes at ca. 3 log CFU/cm2, packed under air or vacuum conditions, stored at 4, 12, or 25 degrees C, and analyzed after 0, 3, 7, 15, 30, 60, and 90 days. L. monocytogenes did not grow on the cheese surface, regardless of storage conditions. However, long-term survival of the pathogen was noted in all treatments, being the highest (P
An outbreak of febrile gastroenteritis affected consumers of on-farm manufactured dairy products from a summer farm in Sweden. Symptoms included diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps and vomiting in 88, 60, 54 and 21% of cases identified. The median incubation period was 31 h. A cohort study with 33 consumers showed an attack rate of 52% and an association between the total amount of product eaten and illness (P=0.07). Twenty-seven of 32 (84%) stool samples cultured for Listeria monocytogenes tested positive, although there was no association between clinical disease and the isolation of L. monocytogenes. In addition, gene sequences for VTEC and ETEC were detected in 6 and 1 subjects, respectively. Bacteriological analysis of cheese samples revealed heavy contamination with L. monocytogenes and coagulase positive staphylococci in all of them and gene markers for VTEC in one of them. Molecular profiles for L. monocytogenes isolated from dairy products, stool samples and an abscess from 1 patient who developed septic arthritis were identical. Results of both microbiological and epidemiological analyses point to L. monocytogenes as the most likely cause of this outbreak. The finding of markers for VTEC in some humans and cheese samples means that a mixed aetiology at least in some cases cannot be conclusively ruled out.
The background microbiota of 5 Norwegian small-scale cheese production sites was examined and the effect of the isolated strains on the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes was investigated. Samples were taken from the air, food contact surfaces (storage surfaces, cheese molds, and brine) and noncontact surfaces (floor, drains, and doors) and all isolates were identified by sequencing and morphology (mold). A total of 1,314 isolates were identified and found to belong to 55 bacterial genera, 1 species of yeast, and 6 species of mold. Lactococcus spp. (all of which were Lactococcus lactis), Staphylococcus spp., Microbacterium spp., and Psychrobacter sp. were isolated from all 5 sites and Rhodococcus spp. and Chryseobacterium spp. from 4 sites. Thirty-two genera were only found in 1 out of 5 facilities each. Great variations were observed in the microbial background flora both between the 5 producers, and also within the various production sites. The greatest diversity of bacteria was found in drains and on rubber seals of doors. The flora on cheese storage shelves and in salt brines was less varied. A total of 62 bacterial isolates and 1 yeast isolate were tested for antilisterial activity in an overlay assay and a spot-on-lawn assay, but none showed significant inhibitory effects. Listeria monocytogenes was also co-cultured on ceramic tiles with bacteria dominating in the cheese production plants: Lactococcus lactis, Pseudomonas putida, Staphylococcus equorum, Rhodococcus spp., or Psychrobacter spp. None of the tested isolates altered the survival of L. monocytogenes on ceramic tiles. The conclusion of the study was that no common background flora exists in cheese production environments. None of the tested isolates inhibited the growth of L. monocytogenes. Hence, this study does not support the hypothesis that the natural background flora in cheese production environments inhibits the growth or survival of L. monocytogenes.
An increasing trend in human listeriosis cases over the past five years (2005-2009) in Sweden encouraged the authorities to examine the prevalence and levels of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods in 2010. The combined results of two surveys are presented: the Swedish part of an EU-wide survey and a national survey. A total of 1590 samples covering three categories of RTE food able to support growth of L. monocytogenes: (i) soft and semi-soft cheeses (mould- and smear-ripened); (ii) heat-treated meat products; and (iii) smoked and gravad fish, were collected at retail outlets and analysed at the end of shelf life. L. monocytogenes was detected in 0.4% of 525 cheese samples, 1.2% of 507 meat-product samples and 12% of 558 fish samples. In the latter category, L. monocytogenes was found in 14% of both gravad and cold-smoked fish samples and in approximately 2% of hot-smoked fish samples. The percentage of cold-smoked or gravad fish testing positive for L. monocytogenes was significantly lower in samples processed in Sweden (8%) than in samples processed in other countries (45%). Levels of L. monocytogenes exceeding 100 cfu/g were found in one (0.2%) of the cheese samples and in three (0.5%) of the fish samples. The high prevalence of contaminated cold-smoked and gravad fish samples suggests that these products constitute the main problem. This has induced the development of a national strategy plan with the aim to halve the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in cold-smoked and gravad fish at retail in Sweden by the end of year 2015.
The aim of this study was to survey the presence of Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes during the cheese making process in small-scale raw milk cheese production in Norway. The prevalence of S. aureus in bovine and caprine raw milk samples was 47.3% and 98.8%, respectively. An increase in contamination during the first 2-3 h resulted in a 73.6% prevalence of contamination in the bovine curd, and 23 out of 38 S. aureus-negative bovine milk samples gave rise to S. aureus-positive curds. The highest contamination levels of S. aureus were reached in both caprine and bovine cheese after 5-6 h (after the first pressing). There was no contamination of L. monocytogenes in caprine cheeses and only one (1.4%) contaminated bovine cheese. This work has increased our knowledge about S. aureus and L. monocytogenes contamination during the process of raw milk cheese production and gives an account of the hygiene status during the manufacture of Norwegian raw milk cheeses.
A major Listeria monocytogenes outbreak occurred in the province of Quebec, Canada, in 2008, involving a strain of L. monocytogenes (LM P93) characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and associated with the consumption of pasteurized milk cheese. This report describes the results of the ensuing investigation. All individuals affected with LM P93 across the province were interviewed with a standardized questionnaire. Microbiological and environmental investigations were conducted by the Quebec's Food Inspection Branch of Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec among retailers and cheese plants involved in the outbreak. Between 8 June and 31 December 2008, 38 confirmed cases of LM P93 were reported to public health authorities, including 16 maternal-neonatal cases (14 pregnant women, and two babies born to asymptomatic mothers). The traceback of many brands of cheese that tested positive for LM P93 collected from retailers identified two cheese plants contaminated by L. monocytogenes strains on 3 and 4 September. PFGE profiles became available for both plants on 8 September, and confirmed that a single plant was associated with the outbreak. Products from these two plants were distributed to more than 300 retailers in the province, leading to extensive cross-contamination of retail stock. L. monocytogenes is ubiquitous, and contamination can occur subsequent to heat treatment, which usually precedes cheese production. Contaminated soft-textured cheese is particularly prone to bacterial growth. Ongoing regulatory and industry efforts are needed to decrease the presence of Listeria in foods, including pasteurized products. Retailers should be instructed about the risk of cross-contamination, even with soft pasteurized cheese and apply methods to avoid it.