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).

"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 September 15, 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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