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Occurrence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Hamburgers Produced in Brazil

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The occurrence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 was evaluated in 886 samples of hamburgers produced by eight manufacturers in the south and southeast of Brazil from January to September of 1997. The pathogen was not detected in any of the samples analyzed, although 17 (1.9%) showed the presence of E. coli strains, which presented agglutination with O157 antiserum. These strains were not confirmed, since a subsequent identification indicated that they were fermentation positive for sorbitol, incapable of agglutination with the antisera of other commercial brands, and nonproducers of verocytotoxins. A high rate of false-presumptive-positive tests was observed with strains of enterobacteria when isolated by the culture method and when using a commercially purchased enzymatic immunoassay. This high rate of false presumptive positives was likely because the initial screening for sorbitol-negative strains was carried out using phenol red sorbitol 4-methylumbelliferyl-β-D-glucuronide agar, which was shown to be inadequate for this purpose.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos–Ital, Campinas (SP), Brazil

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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