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Incidence of Listeria monocytogenes in Packages of Retail Franks

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Abstract:

Twenty brands of retail frankfurters obtained from local supermarkets were examined for the presence of Listeria spp. Listeria spp. were found in 8 of 20 brands and Listeria monocytogenes in 6 of the 20 brands tested. In retail samples from 19 brands of frankfurters, Listeria spp. were found at an overall incidence of 10% (9 of 93 packages) of which 7.5% (7 of 93) contained L. monocytogenes and 2.5% (2 of 93) Listeria innocua. However, another brand (No. 20) had incidence levels as high as 71% (17 of 24) for L. monocytogenes and 81% for all Listeria spp. Testing the internal meats versus liquid exudates demonstrated that Listeria spp. were found only in the exudate, indicating that the presence of Listeria was likely due to postprocess contamination. Most probable number (MPN) analysis indicated that L. monocytogenes was present at levels of 0.34 to 2.3 MPN per ml of exudate, or 4.3 to 27.6 MPN per package. Chemical and microbial analyses found brand No. 20 to have the highest pH and NaCl levels among five brands tested; this combination may favor Listeria spp. and suppress competing microorganisms. A prior outbreak of listeriosis from the consumption of nonreheated franks, together with the data presented herein, indicates there is a potential foodborne hazard in consuming uncooked franks or in cross-contamination of other foods from handling package exudate.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Publication date: May 1, 1994

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