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.
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.
Consumption of minimally-processed, or fresh-cut, fruit and vegetables has rapidly increased in recent years, but there have also been several reported outbreaks associated with the consumption of these products. Sodium hypochlorite is currently the most widespread disinfectant used by fresh-cut industries. Neutral electrolyzed water (NEW) is a novel disinfection system that could represent an alternative to sodium hypochlorite. The aim of the study was to determine whether NEW could replace sodium hypochlorite in the fresh-cut produce industry. The effects of NEW, applied in different concentrations, at different treatment temperatures and for different times, in the reduction of the foodborne pathogens Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7 and against the spoilage bacterium Erwinia carotovora were tested in lettuce. Lettuce was artificially inoculated by dipping it in a suspension of the studied pathogens at 10(8), 10(7) or 10(5) cfu ml(-1), depending on the assay. The NEW treatment was always compared with washing with deionized water and with a standard hypochlorite treatment. The effect of inoculum size was also studied. Finally, the effect of NEW on the indigenous microbiota of different packaged fresh-cut products was also determined. The bactericidal activity of diluted NEW (containing approximately 50 ppm of free chlorine, pH 8.60) against E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, L. innocua and E. carotovora on lettuce was similar to that of chlorinated water (120 ppm of free chlorine) with reductions of 1-2 log units. There were generally no significant differences when treating lettuce with NEW for 1 and 3 min. Neither inoculation dose (10(7) or 10(5) cfu ml(-1)) influenced the bacterial reduction achieved. Treating fresh-cut lettuce, carrot, endive, corn salad and 'Four seasons' salad with NEW 1:5 (containing about 50 ppm of free chlorine) was equally effective as applying chlorinated water at 120 ppm. Microbial reduction depended on the vegetable tested: NEW and sodium hypochlorite treatments were more effective on carrot and endive than on iceberg lettuce, 'Four seasons' salad and corn salad. The reductions of indigenous microbiota were smaller than those obtained with the artificially inoculated bacteria tested (0.5-1.2 log reduction). NEW seems to be a promising disinfection method as it would allow to reduce the amount of free chlorine used for the disinfection of fresh-cut produce by the food industry, as the same microbial reduction as sodium hypochlorite is obtained. This would constitute a safer, 'in situ', and easier to handle way of ensuring food safety.
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
Prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads (RTE salads) are readily available whole meals that include a variety of ingredients such as raw vegetables, cooked meat, and pasta. As part of a trend toward healthy convenience foods, RTE salads have become an increasingly popular product among consumers. However, data on the incidence of foodborne pathogens in RTE salads are scarce. In this study, the microbiological safety of 141 RTE salads containing chicken, ham, or smoked salmon was investigated. Salad samples were collected at retail and analyzed using standard methods for Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella, and Campylobacter spp.L. monocytogenes was isolated from two (1.4%) of the RTE salad samples. Seven (5.0%) of the samples were positive for the ail gene (present in all human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica isolates) and three (2.1%) of the samples were positive for the Shiga toxin genes stx1 and/or stx2. However, no strains of pathogenic Y.enterocolitica or STEC were isolated. Thus, pathogens were found or suspected in almost 1 of 10 RTE salads investigated, and pathogenic bacteria probably are present in various RTE salads from retail premises in Sweden. Because RTE salads are intended to be consumed without heat treatment, control of the ingredients and production hygiene is essential to maintain consumer safety. The recommended maximum storage temperature for RTE salads varies among countries but can be up to 8°C (e.g., in Sweden). Even during a short shelf life (3 to 5 days), storage at 8°C can enable growth of psychrotrophs such as L. monocytogenes and Y. enterocolitica. The maximum storage temperature should therefore be reduced.
Rapid methods still rely on a prior (shortened) enrichment step before application. Quantitative information is a prerequisite for understanding the resuscitation kinetics of the growth during the enrichment step. In this study various basal and newly introduced selective enrichment broths were evaluated. First, growth parameters (lambda, mu(max)) of both healthy and sub-lethally injured cells were determined. Next, a selection of enrichment broths was compared for their capacity to support detection within 24h of low numbers of Listeria monocytogenes in artificially and naturally contaminated food samples. Detection was performed either by phage protein-based capture (Listeria Capture kit, Profos, Regensburg, Germany) combined with plating on chromogenic medium or by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using the VIT-Listeria kit (Vermicon, Munich, Germany). Kinetics of resuscitation and growth of L. monocytogenes in various enrichment broths showed that for detection of low numbers of sub-lethally injured L. monocytogenes cells at least an overnight enrichment was needed. A selective enrichment broth was needed to enable proliferation of L. monocytogenes within the indigenous bacterial flora present in foods. However, combination of an appropriate enrichment condition with advanced detection techniques may enable a 24h detection of L. monocytogenes.
This 13-month survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence and counts of foodborne pathogenic bacteria and indicator bacteria on swine carcasses in Sweden. A total of 541 swine carcasses were sampled by swabbing prechill at the 10 largest slaughterhouses in Sweden. Pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica was detected by PCR in 16% of the samples. The probability of finding Y. enterocolitica increased with increasing counts of Escherichia coli. No samples were positive for Salmonella. The prevalences of Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and verocytotoxin-producing E. coli were low (1, 2, and 1%, respectively). None of the verocytotoxin-positive enrichments, as determined by a reverse passive latex agglutination assay, tested positive for the virulence genes eaeA or hlyA by PCR. Coagulase-positive staphylococci, E. coli, and Enterobacteriaceae were recovered from 30, 57, and 87% of the samples, respectively, usually at low levels (95th percentiles, 0.79, 1.09, and 1.30 log CFU/cm2, respectively). The mean log level of Enterobacteriaceae was 0.35 log CFU/cm2 higher than that of E. coli on carcasses positive for both bacteria. The mean log level of aerobic microorganisms was 3.48 log CFU/cm2, and the 95th percentile was 4.51 log CFU/cm2. These data may be useful for risk assessment purposes and can serve as a basis for risk management actions, such as the use of E. coli as an alternative indicator organism for process hygiene control.
A total of 800 meat and poultry products were purchased from the retail marketplace in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The products consisted of raw ground beef, chicken legs, pork chops, and ready-to-eat fermented sausage, roast beef, processed turkey breast, chicken wieners, and beef wieners. The samples were analyzed to determine the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter spp., and Listeria monocytogenes. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 022: H8 was found in one raw ground beef sample. Salmonella and Campylobacter were found in 30 and 62% of raw chicken legs, respectively. L. monocytogenes was found in 52% of raw ground beef, 34% of raw chicken legs, 24% of raw pork chops, 4% of fermented sausages, 3% of processed turkey breast, 5% of beef wieners, and 3% of chicken wieners. The occurrence of pathogens in this study is similar to that in retail products in many other international locales.