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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Aug;75(15):5009-11. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00480-09. Epub 2009 Jun 12.

Detection and enumeration of Clostridium difficile spores in retail beef and pork.

Author information

1
Dept. of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. jsweese@uoguelph.ca

Abstract

Recent studies have identified Clostridium difficile in food animals and retail meat, and concern has been raised about the potential for food to act as a source of C. difficile infection in humans. Previous studies of retail meat have relied on enrichment culture alone, thereby preventing any assessment of the level of contamination in meat. This study evaluated the prevalence of C. difficile contamination of retail ground beef and ground pork in Canada. Ground beef and ground pork were purchased from retail outlets in four Canadian provinces. Quantitative and enrichment culture was performed. Clostridium difficile was isolated from 28/230 (12%) samples overall: 14/115 (12%) ground beef samples and 14/115 (12%) ground pork samples (P = 1.0). For ground beef, 10/14 samples (71%) were positive by enrichment culture only. Of the 4 ground beef samples that were positive by direct culture, 20 spores/g were present in 2 while 120 and 240 spores/g were present in 1 each. For ground pork, 10/14 (71%) samples were positive by enrichment culture only. Of the 4 ground pork samples that were positive by direct culture, 20 spores/g were present in 3 while 60 spores/g were present in 1. Ribotype 078 predominated, consistent with some previous studies of C. difficile in food animals. Ribotype 027/North American pulsotype 1 was also identified in both retail beef and pork. This study has identified relatively common contamination of retail ground beef and pork with C. difficile spores; however, the levels of contamination were very low.

PMID:
19525267
PMCID:
PMC2725490
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.00480-09
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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