Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Once Discovered, Deadly Listeria Can Continue To Contaminate Food In Stores And Plants For A Year Or Longer

Date:
July 16, 2004
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Despite the efforts of food retailers and food-processing plant managers to maintain a clean, safe environment, strains of the deadly pathogen Listeria monocytogenes can persist for up to a year or longer, according to Cornell University food scientists.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Despite the efforts of food retailers and food-processing plant managers to maintain a clean, safe environment, strains of the deadly pathogen Listeria monocytogenes can persist for up to a year or longer, according to Cornell University food scientists in the latest issue of Journal of Food Protection (July 2004).

Related Articles


"This is disturbing because this points the finger at retail stores and some processors as a continuing source of food contamination," says Brian D. Sauders, a Cornell doctoral candidate in food science, who worked on the study with Martin Wiedmann, D.V.M., Cornell assistant professor of food science.

Sauders and Wiedmann examined specific strains of L. monocytogenes that had been found in 125 foods in 50 retail food stores and seven food-processing plants in New York state examined by inspectors of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The inspectors found the bacteria during routine surveys, sanitary inspections and as a result of consumer complaints between 1997 and 2002.

Listeria can cause listeriosis, a deadly disease that primarily affects pregnant women, newborn children, and adults with weakened immune systems. Each year in the United States about 2,500 people are infected, of which one-fifth die. Pasteurization and cooking kill the bacterium.

The foods in which Listeria was found included ready-to-eat delicatessen foods like ham, beef bologna, chicken, pastrami, roast beef and smoked fish. It also was found in hummus, imitation crab, cheeses and in foods requiring cooking before consumption, such as hot dogs and raw foods including beef, ground chuck, turkey, lobster tails and shrimp.

The bacterium was found directly on food in 47 of 50 retail food stores, including 20 food stores where the bacterium was found on several foods. When the 50 stores were re-inspected weeks, months or even a year later, about 34 percent had persistence of the same strains of Listeria. Of the seven food-processing plants where Listeria was found, three had persistent strains of the bacterium.

Wiedmann explains that food retailers have a harder time controlling for Listeria than do food processors. Food processors can control for people entering the plant, while retailers cannot always control the pathogens introduced by customers and employees. "Listeria is a very hardy organism. Even if you think you're doing a good job of cleaning and getting rid of Listeria, it is likely to return. Normal cleaning and even super cleaning does not always get rid of it. It's a tribute to Listeria's ability to survive," says Wiedmann.

The study is intended to help state health departments track the origins of listeriosis. "While our understanding of the ecology of [Listeria] has clearly improved over the last decade, considerable gaps still exist in our understanding of the transmission of human listeriosis. For example, our knowledge of the contributions of food contamination with Listeria at retail, at restaurants, and at home is extremely limited," writes Sauders in the study.

In addition to Sauders and Wiedmann, the article (titled "Distribution of Listeria monocytogenes Molecular Subtypes Among Human and Food Isolates from New York State Shows Persistence of Human Disease-Associated Listeria monocytogenes Strains in Retail Environments") was authored by Kurt Mangione, Curtis Vincent, Jon Schermerhorn and Claudette M. Farchione of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets; Nellie B. Dumas and Dianna Bopp of the New York State Department of Health; Laura Kornstein of the New York City Department of Health; and Esther Fortes and Katy Windham of Cornell. Funding for the research came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Once Discovered, Deadly Listeria Can Continue To Contaminate Food In Stores And Plants For A Year Or Longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040716081935.htm>.
Cornell University. (2004, July 16). Once Discovered, Deadly Listeria Can Continue To Contaminate Food In Stores And Plants For A Year Or Longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040716081935.htm
Cornell University. "Once Discovered, Deadly Listeria Can Continue To Contaminate Food In Stores And Plants For A Year Or Longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040716081935.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins