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Prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in Broilers at the Abattoir, Processing Plant, and Retail Level

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The environment and products from two broiler abattoirs and processing plants and raw broiler pieces at the retail level were sampled for Listeria monocytogenes in order to evaluate the contamination level of the broiler carcasses and products. Sampling started in the slaughtering process and finished with raw broiler meat or ready-to-eat cooked product. Sampling sites positive for L. monocytogenes at the broiler abattoir were the air chiller, the skin-removing machine, and the conveyor belt leading to the packaging area. The L. monocytogenes contamination rate varied from 1 to 19% between the two plants studied. Furthermore, 62% (38 of 61) of the raw broiler pieces, bought from retail stores, were positive for L. monocytogenes. Altogether, 136 L. monocytogenes isolates were obtained for serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) characterization performed with two rare-cutting enzymes (ApaI and AscI). Altogether three serotypes (1/2a, 1/2c, and 4b) and 14 different PFGE types were obtained using information provided from both Apa I and Asc I patterns for discrimination basis. The two broiler abattoirs studied did not share the same PFGE types. However, the same PFGE types found in the raw broiler pieces at the retail level were also found in the broiler abattoirs where the broilers had been slaughtered.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 57, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: 2001-07-01

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