Survival of Streptococcus pyogenes on Foods and Food Contact Surfaces

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Streptococcus pyogenes causes septic sore throat in millions of Americans each year and may be transmitted from food handlers to food contact surfaces, foods, and consumers. This study examined the individual survival of six S. pyogenes strains on food contact surfaces (plastic and ceramic plates, plastic cups, and stainless steel utensils) held at 21°C for 2 h and on tomatoes stored aerobically at 21°C for 2 h and at 5°C for 24 h. Survival of a cocktail of the six S. pyogenes strains was also evaluated on vacuum-packaged ready-to-eat meats and cheeses held at 21°C for 8 h and at 5°C for 24 h. Populations generally did not change on tomatoes, cheeses, or beef bologna; however, there were small (0.1 to 0.7 log CFU) but statistically significant decreases (P < 0.05) in average S. pyogenes populations on turkey luncheon meat and beef summer sausage stored for 8 h at 21°C and on beef summer sausage stored for 24 h at 5°C. On food contact surfaces, average populations either decreased slightly (P ≥ 0.05) or remained constant, with the exception of three strains that significantly decreased in number on ceramic plates (P < 0.05; average decreases, 0.3 log CFU). Results of this study suggest the importance of preventing the contamination of foods and food contact surfaces with S. pyogenes by infected workers.

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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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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