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Detection of Salmonella Senftenberg Associated with High Saline Environments in Mussel Processing Facilities

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A contamination by Salmonella Senftenberg in frozen mussels was detected in 1998 during a routine analytical surveillance. From June 1998 to December 2001, a total of 3,410 samples of steamed frozen mussels and items related to their manufacture were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella. Salmonella Senftenberg was isolated in 573 (16.8%) samples, and no other serovar was detected. The contamination episodes extended for several months. Salmonella Senftenberg colonies from the first contamination events showed a rugose morphology on agar with a shiny crystalline layer and limited colony formation on microbiological media. These contaminations were mainly associated with brine (300 g of NaCl per liter), while the live molluscs that were being processed were free of Salmonella. When the brine contaminations were nearly controlled, new episodes were detected that were associated with live mussels. In the new episodes, colonies showed the typical characteristics of Salmonella and normal growth on agar. Salmonella Senftenberg presented a high resistance to unfavorable environments and showed a preference for clean environments. While Salmonella Senftenberg could be isolated from mussels after steam treatment, it could not survive after immersion in water at 80°C for 1 min. This fact was used to develop a process to remove contamination from products, minimizing the health risk associated with frozen mussel consumption. The general incidence of Salmonella Senftenberg in facilities and mussels was reduced from 31.2% in 1998 to 2.5% in 2001. During this study, no cases of illness from consumption of frozen mussels were reported, indicating a possible lack of virulence of Salmonella Senftenberg in these contamination events.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Unidad de Control de Moluscos, Instituto de Acuicultura, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario Sur, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain 2: Unidad de Control de Moluscos, Instituto de Acuicultura, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario Sur, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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