Di Ciccio, Pierluigi and Meloni, Domenico and Festino, Anna Rita and Conter, Mauro and Zanardi, Emanuela and Ghidini, Sergio and Vergara, Alberto and Mazzette, Rina and Ianeri, Adriana (2012) Longitudinal study on the sources of Listeria monocytogenes contamination in cold-smoked salmon and its processing environment in Italy. International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 158 (1), p. 79-84. eISSN 1879-3460. Article.
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the sources of Listeria monocytogenes contamination in a cold smoked salmon processing environment over a period of six years (2003–2008). A total of 170 samples of raw material, semi-processed, final product and processing surfaces at different production stages were tested for the presence of L. monocytogenes. The L. monocytogenes isolates were characterized by multiplex PCR for the analysis of virulence factors and for serogrouping. The routes of contamination over the six year period were traced by PFGE. L. monocytogenes was isolated from 24% of the raw salmon samples, 14% of the semi-processed products and 12% of the final products. Among the environmental samples, 16% were positive for L. monocytogenes. Serotyping yielded three serovars: 1/2a, 1/2b, 4b, with the majority belonging to serovars 1/2a (46%) and 1/2b (39%). PFGE yielded 14 profiles: two of them were repeatedly isolated in 2005–2006 and in 2007–2008 mainly from the processing environment and final products but also from raw materials. The results of this longitudinal study highlighted that contamination of smoked salmon occurs mainly during processing rather than originating from raw materials, even if raw fish can be a contamination source of the working environment. Molecular subtyping is critical for the identification of the contamination routes of L. monocytogenes and its niches into the production plant when control strategies must be implemented with the aim to reduce its prevalence during manufacturing.
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