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Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Feb 28;129(3):264-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.12.002. Epub 2008 Dec 7.

Fate of acid-resistant and non-acid resistant Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains in experimentally contaminated French fermented raw meat sausages.

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Unité de Microbiologie Alimentaire et Prévisionnelle, Université de Lyon - Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon 69280, Marcy l'étoile, France.


Both pathogenic and nonpathogenic E. coli exhibit a stress response to sublethal environmental stresses. Several studies have reported acid tolerance and survival characteristics of E. coli O157:H7 in foodstuffs, but there are few reports about the tolerance of non-O157 serogroups (STEC) to organic acids in foods. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the manufacturing process of French fermented raw meat sausages on the growth and survival of acid-resistant (AR) and non-acid resistant (NAR) STEC strains. The six strains, 3 AR and 3 NAR, were inoculated separately into raw sausage mixture at a level of 10(4)-10(5) CFU/g. A total of 19 batches of sausages were manufactured. A rapid and similar decrease in the number of both AR and NAR STEC strains, from less than 1 to 1.5 log(10) CFU/g, was observed during the first 5 days of fermentation at 20-24 degrees C. This rapid decrease was followed by a more gradual but continuous decrease in STEC counts after drying at 13-14 degrees C, up to day 35. The STEC counts were <10 CFU/g after 35 days for the NAR strains and the same concentration for the AR strains on the best before date (day 60). It was not possible to detect any NAR STEC after 60 days. The present study shows that the process used in the manufacture of French sausages results in a complete destruction of NAR STEC strains after 60 days, but it does not have the same effect on the AR STEC strains.

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