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Prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods Sampled from the Point of Sale in Wales, United Kingdom

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A survey of Listeria in ready-to-eat food took place in Wales, United Kingdom, between February 2008 and January 2009. In total, 5,840 samples were taken and examined for the presence of Listeria species, including L. monocytogenes. Samples were tested using detection and enumeration methods, and the results were compared with current United Kingdom guidelines for the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat foods. The majority of samples were negative for Listeria by both direct plating and enriched culture. Seventeen samples (0.29%) had countable levels of Listeria species (other than L. monocytogenes), and another 11 samples (0.19%) had countable levels of L. monocytogenes. Nine samples (0.15%) were unsatisfactory or potentially hazardous when compared with United Kingdom guideline limits; six (0.10%) were in the unsatisfactory category (>100 CFU/g) for Listeria species (other than L. monocytogenes), and three (0.05%) were in the unacceptable or potentially hazardous category (>100 CFU/g) for L. monocytogenes. All three of these samples were from sandwiches (two chicken sandwiches and one ham-and-cheese sandwich). The most commonly isolated serotype of L. monocytogenes was 1/2a. This survey was used to determine the current prevalence of Listeria species and L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods sampled from the point of sale in Wales.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Public Health Service Microbiology Cardiff, Llandough Hospital, Penlan Road, Penarth CF64 2XX, UK 2: National Public Health Service Microbiology Rhyl, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl LL18 5UJ, UK 3: Powys County Council, Public Protection & Housing, The Gwalia, Ithon Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 6DY, UK 4: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale NP23 6XB, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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