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Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Mar 1;91(2):167-74.

Incidence of Listeria monocytogenes in two milk processing environments, and assessment of Listeria monocytogenes blood agar for isolation.

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Food Microbiology, Department of Food Science, Queen's University Belfast, Newforge Lane, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9 5PX, UK.


A year-long survey of two Northern Ireland milk processing plants for Listeria monocytogenes was carried out. Sample sites included the milk processing environment (walls, floors, drains, and steps), processing equipment, raw and pasteurised milk. The FDA listeria-selective enrichment procedure was used to process samples and an additional agar medium, L. monocytogenes Blood Agar (LMBA), was utilized as part of the isolation procedure in order to compare its performance to that of the recommended Oxford and Palcam agars. LMBA proved to be a very useful tool and was able to detect L. monocytogenes from 94.1% of sites compared to the 76.5% and 79.4% detection rate displayed by Oxford and Palcam agars, respectively. The overall incidence of listeria on equipment was 18.8% (6.3% L. monocytogenes), in the environment was 54.7% (40.6% L. monocytogenes) and in raw milk 44.4% (22.2% L. monocytogenes). On one occasion, L. welshimeri was isolated from pasteurised milk, probably demonstrating post-pasteurisation contamination of product. The main environmental sources of L. monocytogenes were considered to be a floor drain and stainless steel steps.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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