Survival and Persistence of Campylobacter and Salmonella Species under Various Organic Loads on Food Contact Surfaces

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Although many cases of Campylobacter and Salmonella enteritis have been attributed to the undercooking of poultry and other foods, cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods via food contact surfaces and worker contact has also been identified as a significant risk factor. Cross-contamination may be particularly important in relation to the high prevalence of contamination in raw poultry products and other foods and the low infectious doses that have been reported for Campylobacter species. Lag phase and decimal reduction times (D-values at 27°C [81°F] and 60 to 62% relative humidity) were determined for Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella species (five-strain pools) suspended in either a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) solution or Trypticase soy broth (TSB) and then inoculated (0.1-ml drop per surface) on 5-cm2 samples of Formica laminate (F), glazed ceramic tile (CT), 304 polished stainless steel (SS), and 100% cotton dishcloth (D). Triplicate samples were collected from each contact surface periodically, and the populations of surviving organisms were enumerated on Campy Cefex and brain heart infusion agars for C. jejuni and Salmonella species, respectively. Lag time and rate of inactivation were influenced by organism type, contact surface, and suspending medium. Initial mean lag times ranging from 60 to 190 min were followed by log-linear (r 2 > 0.94) decreases in cell populations that varied across contact surfaces. D-values of 12.5, 19.1, 24.1, and 29.7 min and of 23.7, 10.5, 12.7, and 13.9 min were calculated for C. jejuni suspended in PBS and TSB and then spotted on D, F, SS, and CT surfaces, respectively. The times required to produce a 3-log reduction in population with PBS and TSB ranged from 102 (D) to 247 (F) min and from 112 (CT) to 167 (F) min, respectively. C. jejuni cells suspended in the nutritionally enriched medium (TSB) and spotted on the hard surfaces were inactivated about 1.4 times as fast as cells suspended in PBS. For the Salmonella test strains, D-values of 17.1, 426.6, 118.6, and 41.9 min and of 48.2, 1363.2, 481.8, and 134.2 min were calculated for cells suspended in PBS and TSB and then spotted on D, F,SS, and CT surfaces, respectively. In contrast to C. jejuni, Salmonella serotypes were 1.7 to 3.3 times more persistent when suspended in TSB than when suspended in PBS and were 1.2 to 25.3 times more persistent than C. jejuni, depending on the contact surface and the type of suspension fluid (i.e., overall time required to achieve a 3-log reduction in population, lag time + 3 × D). These findings indicate that both the contact surface and the level of organic matter can influence the survival and persistence of C. jejuni and Salmonella species on food contact surfaces.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Poultry Science (Campus Box 7608), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7608, USA 2: Department of Food Science (Campus Box 7624), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7608, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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