An understanding of Listeria transmission and contamination patterns in processing environments of ready-to-eat foods is critical for improving control of Listeria monocytogenes. A cold-smoked fish processing operation was the site used to study variability in Listeria
contamination in a processing environment associated with a ready-to-eat food product throughout one production week (five consecutive days). Intensive testing was conducted on finished products and environmental samples collected at the beginning, middle, and end of each working day. A total
of 20 finished products and 22 to 36 environmental samples were collected at each sampling time, and an additional 12 environmental samples were collected on days 4 and 5. Overall, a total of 782 samples, 300 finished products and 482 environmental samples, were tested. All samples were collected
from processing steps after smoking, including skinning, trimming, slicing, staging, and packing. A total of 28 finished and 57 environmental samples (9.3 and 11.8%, respectively) were positive for Listeria spp. (including 1 and 5 samples positive for L. monocytogenes, respectively).
DNA sequencing of the sigB gene allowed differentiation of eight Listeria subtypes. Listeria prevalence varied significantly between days, and a high prevalence in both environmental samples and finished products on day 3 was likely associated with a point source contamination
event by a single Listeria welshimeri subtype. There were no consistent differences in Listeria prevalence among samples collected from the beginning, middle, and end of the production day, but subtype data often revealed unique contamination patterns for samples collected at
different times of a given day. Listeria contamination patterns and prevalences were highly variable between days and within a given day. These findings indicate that chance events play an important role in the contamination of finished products, thus complicating efforts to define
Listeria transmission patterns in processing environments associated with ready-to-eat foods.
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA 2:
New York Sea Grant and Cornell Cooperative Extension, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA 3:
Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
Publication date: September 1, 2006
More about this publication?
IAFP members must first sign in on the right to access full text articles of JFP 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.
Print and online subscriptions are available to Members and Institutional subscribers. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Information can be obtained by calling +1 800.369.6337; +1 515.276.3344; fax: +1 515.276.8655, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Web site: www.foodprotection.org