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Transfer of Persistent Listeria monocytogenes Contamination between Food-Processing Plants Associated with a Dicing Machine

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The possibility of the transfer of persistent Listeria monocytogenes contamination from one plant to another with a dicing machine was evaluated, and possible reasons for persistent contamination were analyzed. A dicing machine that diced cooked meat products was transferred from plant A to plant B and then to plant C. After the transfer of the dicing machine, L. monocytogenes PFGE type I, originally found in plant A, was soon also found in plants B and C. This L. monocytogenes PFGE type I caused persistent contamination of the dicing lines in plants B and C. The persistent L. monocytogenes strain and three nonpersistent L. monocytogenes strains found in the dicing line of plant C were tested for adherence to stainless steel surfaces and minimal inhibitory concentrations of a quaternary ammonium compound and sodium hypochlorite, disinfectants widely used in the dicing lines. The persistent strain showed significantly higher adherence to stainless steel surfaces than did the nonpersistent strains. The minimal inhibitory concentrations of sodium hypochlorite were similar for all strains, and the minimal inhibitory concentrations of the quaternary ammonium compound for three of the L. monocytogenes PFGE types, including the persistent PFGE type, were high. All persistent L. monocytogenes PFGE type I isolates were found in an area with high hygienic standards, with the dicing machine being the first point of contamination. These observations show that the dicing machine sustained the contamination and suggest that the dicing machine transferred the persistent L. monocytogenes PFGE type from one plant to another.


Document Type: Research Article

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

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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