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J Food Prot. 2007 Mar;70(3):739-43.

Quantitative effect of refrigerated storage time on the enumeration of Campylobacter, Listeria, and Salmonella on artificially inoculated raw chicken meat.

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  • 1Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 5B2. katarina_pintar@phac-aspc.gc.ca


Active monitoring of pathogens on retail foods has been recommended and implemented in a number of developed countries. Because only a portion of retail food is contaminated with pathogens, a cost-effective and informative surveillance program at the retail level often involves a two-stage approach of initial presence-absence analysis and subsequent pathogen enumeration in any positive samples. Most-probable-number (MPN) methods are more resource intensive and therefore used only for samples considered positive by presence-absence methods. Interpretation of the results assumes that the initial bacterial count remains relatively stable between the initiation of the presence-absence analysis and the enumeration analysis. The objective of this study was to quantify the influence of 4 degrees C storage for 5 and 8 days on pathogen counts on raw chicken. The three pathogens examined were Salmonella Typhimurium, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes. No significant differences were found between treatments for Salmonella and Campylobacter. However, significant differences were observed for Listeria; counts at day 0 were lower than counts after 5 or 8 days of refrigerated storage (the maximum mean difference was less than 0.6 log units). These findings suggest that a two-stage approach could overestimate the number of Listeria cells on chicken at the time of purchase. By using an MPN analysis on the presumptive positive samples after 5 days of refrigerated storage, this difference will be reduced. These findings support the decision to reduce surveillance costs by performing a two-stage analysis for Salmonella and Campylobacter on retail chicken. This study provides direction for future sampling or surveillance programs that include enumeration of Listeria on retail food.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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