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J Food Prot. 2007 Jun;70(6):1513-7.

Traceback identification of an ingredient (pork dewlap) as the possible source of Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b contamination in raw chicken products.

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Departamento de Tecnología de Alimentos, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Carretera de La Coruña, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


In surveys conducted on finished product samples from a single poultry processing plant in Spain, Listeria monocytogenes was found in 14 different uncooked products. To track contamination patterns, 77 L. monocytogenes isolates were characterized by PCR-based serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) restriction analysis, and PCR-based allelic analysis of the virulence gene actA. Serotyping revealed that 12 isolates (15.6%) were of the L. monocytogenes serotype 4b complex (serotype 4b or the closely related serotypes 4d and 4e). A combination of endonucleases AscI and ApaI PFGE patterns yielded 15 different pulsotypes among all 77 tested isolates. All the serotype 4b isolates belonged to one pulsotype. Sequencing of the actA gene confirmed that all serotype 4b isolates corresponded to the same allelic subtype. The subtype was recovered from five product types, but its presence was not correlated with the production line or the date of isolation, suggesting a possible association of this strain with a common ingredient. This traceback investigation established that pork dewlap, an ingredient common to all the products contaminated with this strain, was the most probable source of L. monocytogenes 4b. The same 4b strain was isolated from four samples of pork dewlap from one specific supplier. After replacement of this contaminated ingredient in the fresh products, this strain of L. monocytogenes serotype 4b was not detected. This study confirms the effectiveness of molecular subtyping to control contamination by specific strains of L. monocytogenes and the importance of testing the different ingredients added to the food products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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