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.
Sixty-two strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated in Canada and Switzerland were investigated. Comparison based on molecular genotypes confirmed that strains in these two countries are genetically diverse. Interestingly strains from both countries displayed similar range of cold growth phenotypic profiles. Based on cold growth lag phase duration periods displayed in BHI at 4??C, the strains were similarly divided into groups of fast, intermediate and slow cold adaptors. Overall Swiss strains had faster exponential cold growth rates compared to Canadian strains. However gene expression analysis revealed no significant differences between fast and slow cold adapting strains in the ability to induce nine cold adaptation genes (lmo0501, cspA, cspD, gbuA, lmo0688, pgpH, sigB, sigH and sigL) in response to cold stress exposure. Neither was the presence of Stress survival islet 1 (SSI-1) analysed by PCR associated with enhanced cold adaptation. Phylogeny based on the sigL gene subdivided strains from these two countries into two major and one minor cluster. Fast cold adaptors were more frequently in one of the major clusters (cluster A), whereas slow cold adaptors were mainly in the other (cluster B). Genetic differences between these two major clusters are associated with various amino acid substitutions in the predicted SigL proteins. Compared to the EGDe type strain and most slow cold adaptors, most fast cold adaptors exhibited five identical amino acid substitutions (M90L, S203A/S203T, S304N, S315N, and I383T) in their SigL proteins. We hypothesize that these amino acid changes might be associated with SigL protein structural and functional changes that may promote differences in cold growth behaviour between L.?monocytogenes strains.
Microbiological and chemical changes were determined during the smoking and drying of salmon strips processed at 29 to 31 degrees C for 4 days at a facility in Alaska in 1993. During the process, Staphylococcus aureus populations increased to more than 10(5) CFU/g after 2 to 3 days of processing. Subsequent laboratory studies showed that a pellicle (dried skinlike surface) formed rapidly on the strips when there was rapid air circulation in the smokehouse and that bacteria embedded in or under the pellicle were able to grow even when heavy smoke deposition occurred. Under these conditions, an inoculum of 26 CFU/g of S. aureus increased to 10(5) CFU/g after 3 days of processing. Elimination of preprocess drying and reduction in air flow during smoking resulted in smoke deposition before pellicle formation and enabled the product to reach levels of water-phase salt and water activity that inhibit the growth of S. aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. In 1994, these modifications were then applied during processing at an Alaskan facility, and S. aureus could not be detected in the finished product. L. monocytogenes was detected in the raw product area, on the processing tables, and on the raw salmon strips, but it was not detected in the finished product when the smoke was applied before pellicle formation.
Automated ribotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and serotyping were evaluated for the epidemiological study of isolates of Listeria monocytogenes collected in Finland in 1997-1999 from human blood (n = 116) and the food industry (n = 72). The isolates divided into six serotypes, 23 EcoRI ribotypes, 54 AscI PFGE types, and 57 final subtypes if all results were combined. The discrimination index of ribotyping was lower (0.873) than that of PFGE (0.946). Two final subtypes dominated among human isolates, and identical subtypes were also found among food industry isolates. All PFGE types were serotype-specific, whereas two ribotypes included isolates of two serotypes. Isolates of serotype 3a, involved in an outbreak in Finland in 1999, matched one of these ribotypes, which also included some food industry isolates of serotype 1/2a. Ribotyping with EcoRI would not have been sufficient to define the outbreak in Finland caused by serotype 3a isolates. Although ribotyping is applicable as the first method in outbreak situations, human and food isolates with identical ribotypes should be investigated further by PFGE.
Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence, Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 54, Hobart 7001, Tasmania, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Two commercially available organic acid salts, potassium lactate (PURASAL HiPure P) and a potassium lactate-sodium diacetate blend (PURASAL Opti. Form PD 4), were assessed as potential inhibitors of Listeria monocytogenes growth in modified atmosphere packaged (MAP) sliced ham in challenge studies. The influence of the initial inoculation level of L. monocytogenes (10(1) or 10(3) CFU g(-1)) and storage temperature (4 or 8 degrees C) was also examined. The addition of either organic acid salt to MAP sliced ham strongly inhibited the growth of L. monocytogenes during the normal shelf life of the product under ideal refrigeration conditions (4 degrees C) and even under abusive temperature conditions (i.e., 8 degrees C). During the challenge studies and in the absence of either organic acid salt, L. monocytogenes numbers increased by 1000-fold after 20 days at 8 degrees C and 10-fold after 42 days at 4 degrees C. Both organic acid salt treatments were found to be listeriostatic rather than listericidal. The addition of either organic acid salt to the MAP ham also reduced the growth of indigenous microflora, i.e., aerobic microflora and lactic acid bacteria. The influence of these compounds on the risk of listeriosis in relation to product shelf life is discussed.
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
In this study, we investigated the fate of Listeria monocytogenes , pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica , and Escherichia coli O157:H7 gfp(+) inoculated in low numbers into ready-to-eat baby spinach and mixed-ingredient salad (baby spinach with chicken meat). Samples were stored at recommended maximum refrigerator temperature (8°C in Sweden) or at an abuse temperature (15°C) for up to 7 days. Mixed-ingredient salad supported considerable growth when stored at 15°C during shelf life (3 days), with populations of L. monocytogenes , pathogenic Y. enterocolitica , and E. coli O157:H7 gfp(+) increasing from less than 2.0 log CFU/g on day 0 to 7.0, 4.0, and 5.6 log CFU/g, respectively. However, when mixed-ingredient salad was stored at 8°C during shelf life, only L. monocytogenes increased significantly, reaching 3.0 log CFU/g within 3 days. In plain baby spinach, only pathogenic Y. enterocolitica populations increased significantly during storage for 7 days, and this was exclusively at an abuse temperature (15°C). Thus, mixing ready-to-eat leafy vegetables with chicken meat strongly influenced levels of inoculated strains during storage. To explore the food safety implications of these findings, bacterial numbers were translated into risks of infection by modeling. The risk of listeriosis (measured as probability of infection) was 16 times higher when consuming a mixed-ingredient salad stored at 8°C at the end of shelf life, or 200,000 times higher when stored at 15°C, compared with when consuming it on the day of inoculation. This indicates that efforts should focus on preventing temperature abuse during storage to mitigate the risk of listeriosis. The storage conditions recommended for mixed-ingredient salads in Sweden (maximum 8°C for 3 days) did not prevent growth of L. monocytogenes in baby spinach mixed with chicken meat. Manufacturers preparing these salads should be aware of this, and recommended storage temperature should be revised downwards to reduce the risk of foodborne disease.
Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne human-pathogenic bacterium that can cause infections with a high mortality rate. It has a remarkable ability to persist in food processing facilities. Here we report the genome sequences for two L. monocytogenes strains (N53-1 and La111) that were isolated 6 years apart from two different Danish fish processers. Both strains are of serotype 1/2a and belong to a highly persistent DNA subtype (random amplified polymorphic DNA [RAPD] type 9). We demonstrate using in silico analyses that both strains belong to the multilocus sequence typing (MLST) type ST121 that has been isolated as a persistent subtype in several European countries. The purpose of this study was to use genome analyses to identify genes or proteins that could contribute to persistence. In a genome comparison, the two persistent strains were extremely similar and collectively differed from the reference lineage II strain, EGD-e. Also, they differed markedly from a lineage I strain (F2365). On the proteome level, the two strains were almost identical, with a predicted protein homology of 99.94%, differing at only 2 proteins. No single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) differences were seen between the two strains; in contrast, N53-1 and La111 differed from the EGD-e reference strain by 3,942 and 3,471 SNPs, respectively. We included a persistent L. monocytogenes strain from the United States (F6854) in our comparisons. Compared to nonpersistent strains, all three persistent strains were distinguished by two genome deletions: one, of 2,472 bp, typically contains the gene for inlF, and the other, of 3,017 bp, includes three genes potentially related to bacteriocin production and transport (lmo2774, lmo2775, and the 3'-terminal part of lmo2776). Further studies of highly persistent strains are required to determine if the absence of these genes promotes persistence. While the genome comparison did not point to a clear physiological explanation of the persistent phenotype, the remarkable similarity between the two strains indicates that subtypes with specific traits are selected for in the food processing environment and that particular genetic and physiological factors are responsible for the persistent phenotype.
To investigate the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in poultry products, and to elucidate whether poultry products may be linked to listeriosis cases. A further goal was to identify contamination routes for L. monocytogenes to broiler carcasses.
Poultry products (385 samples) were screened for L. monocytogenes. The recovered isolates and 19 patient isolates were characterized by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis and restriction enzyme analysis. The poultry isolates showed great genetic diversity, but no identical subclones were identified from poultry sources and patients. One slaughterhouse was examined in detail during a 16-month period. The contamination rates increased along the processing line, and one subclone was found during the whole period. Only low prevalence of the bacteria was revealed from broiler faeces.
The prevalence of L. monocytogenes in poultry products was high, but no listeriosis cases was linked to poultry products. Broilers seem to be contaminated during the slaughter process, and specific strains may persist in the processing environment. Broiler faeces does not seem to be an important source of L. monocytogenes in poultry products.
Preventive measures to avoid contamination of poultry products by L. monocytogenes must be taken in the processing plants.