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Fate of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis on Currency

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The fate of foodborne pathogens Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis on coin surfaces was determined at room temperature (25°C). A five-strain mixture of E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella Enteritidis of approximately 5 × 104 CFU was applied to the surfaces of sterile U.S. coins (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters) and to the surfaces of two control substrata (Teflon and glass coverslips). During storage at room temperature, E. coli O157:H7 survived for 7, 9, and 11 days on the surfaces of pennies, nickels, and dimes and quarters, respectively. However, the pathogen died off within 4 to 7 days on both the Teflon and glass surfaces. Salmonella Enteritidis survived for 1, 2, 4, and 9 days on the surfaces of pennies, nickels, quarters, and dimes, respectively. Unlike E. coli O157:H7, survival of Salmonella Enteritidis was greatest on both Teflon and glass coverslips, with more than 100 cells per substratum detected at the 17th day of storage. Results indicate that coins could serve as potential vehicles for transmitting both E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement and Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA

Publication date: July 1, 1999

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