An 8-year surveillance of the diversity and persistence of Listeria monocytogenes in a chilled food processing plant analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism.

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Journal of Food Protection. 2007; 70(8): 1866-1873

Title: An 8-year surveillance of the diversity and persistence of Listeria monocytogenes in a chilled food processing plant analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism.
Author: Keto-Timonen, R; Tolvanen, R; Lunden, J; Korkeala, H
Date: 2007
ISSN: 0362-028X
URI: http://www.foodprotection.org
http://hdl.handle.net/1975/7371
Abstract: Contamination routes of Listeria monocytogenes were examined in a chilled food processing plant that produced ready-to-eat and ready-to-reheat meals during an 8-year period by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. A total of 319 L. monocytogenes isolates were recovered from raw materials (n=18), the environment (n=77), equipment (n=193), and products (n=31), and 18 different AFLP types were identified, five of which were repeatedly found to be persistent types. The three compartments (I to III) of the plant showed markedly different contamination statuses. Compartment I, which produced cooked meals, was heavily contaminated with three persistent AFLP types. AFLP type A1 dominated, and it comprised 93% of the isolates of the compartment. Compartment II, which produced uncooked chilled food, was contaminated with four persistent and five nonpersistent AFLP types. The equipment of compartment III, which produced cooked ready-to-reheat meals, was free of contamination. In compartments that produced cooked meals, the cleaning routines, product types, and lack of compartmentalization seemed to predispose production lines to persistent contamination. The most contaminated lines harbored L. monocytogenes in coolers, conveyors, and packing machines. Good compartmentalization limited the flow of L. monocytogenes into the postheat -treatment area and prevented the undesired movement of equipment and personnel, thus protecting the production lines from contamination. In compartment II, grated cheese was shown to cause product contamination. Therefore, special attention should be paid to continuous quality control of raw ingredients when uncooked ready-to-eat foods are produced. In compartment II, reconstruction of the production line resulted in reduced prevalence rates of L. monocytogenes and elimination of two persistent AFLP types.
Description: Reprinted with permission from Journal of Food Protection. Copyright held by the International Association for Food Protection, Des Moines, U.S.A.


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