Evaluation of Murine Norovirus Persistence in Environments Relevant to Food Production and Processing

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Abstract:

Human norovirus (NoV) causes outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis associated with many ready-to-eat foods, including fresh produce. Effective inactivation procedures must consider virus survival under conditions of produce production and processing. This study aimed to investigate the persistence of NoV in a variety of environments, using murine NoV (MNV) as a surrogate for NoV. MNV was incubated for up to 42 days at room temperature on stainless steel disks, on lettuce, on soil, and in potable water and titers determined by plaque assay. A 1-log reduction of MNV infectivity was observed after 29 days in water, 4 days on lettuce, 12 days on soil, and 15 days on stainless steel disks. MNV survived longer in water than in any of the other environments, indicating that drying may contribute to NoV inactivation. MNV genomes were not significantly reduced for up to 42 days, suggesting that genomic detection is not a reliable indicator of viability. Overall, our findings provide valuable information regarding the potential for NoV transmission in the food supply.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-081

Affiliations: 1: Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Sir F. G. Banting Research Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0K9; Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5 2: Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Sir F. G. Banting Research Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0K9; Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5. kirsten.mattison@hc-sc.gc.ca

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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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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