Category Archives: Enterobacteriaceae

Research – Microbial Status of White Asparagus Spears during Storage in Moist Packages

Journal Food Protection


White asparagus is a high-value commodity of large economic importance in Germany. Its harvest period lasts only a limited part of the year, during which daily yield and also market demand are highly variable. Harvested asparagus is perishable; thus, quality control and shelf life must be ensured by proper handling, e.g., avoiding fresh weight losses and, at the same time, limiting microbial growth. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of moist asparagus packaging on unpeeled white asparagus (cv. Gijnlim). Water was added to some of the packages to reduce fresh weight losses and to study the consequences for microbial growth. Polythene bag packaging, lined inside with cellulose fleece, was used to hold 500-g bunches of spears, covered partly (open bag) or totally (closed bag). Storage duration was 7 days, at temperatures of 2°C, 8°C, and a combination of 2 and 22°C, simulating retail conditions. Using a standardized cultivation method for food assessment, CFU counts (5.20 to 7.95 log CFU), number of pseudomonads (4.79 to 7.90 log CFU), lactic acid bacteria (<3.00 to 3.94 log CFU), Enterobacteriaceae (4.26 to 7.15 log CFU, including Escherichia coli <1.00 log CFU), yeasts (<2.30 to 3.15 to 3.53 log CFU), and molds (<2.30 log CFU), as well as sulfite-reducing clostridia (<1 log CFU) were determined. Temperature was the most important factor for microbial growth. Additional water had no effect in most cases; it inhibited most of the fresh weight losses compared to dry treatments in this study but led to 2% weight increase in closed bags. Our results point to the conclusion that moist packaging would be a feasible alternative to dry wrapping with regard to weight retention, and it did not increase growth of the analyzed microbial groups to an unacceptable value.

  • Moist packaging of white asparagus does not necessarily increase microbial load after storage.

  • Microbial counts were lower after 1 week of storage in a closed versus open package.

  • Microbial growth did not exceed tolerable values.

RASFF Alert – Animal Feed – Enterobacteriaceae – Complete Feed


RASFF – high count of Enterobacteriaceae (1550 CFU/g) in complete feed from China in Sweden

Research – Domestic Kitchen Microbiological Contamination and Self-Reported Food Hygiene Practices of Older Adult Consumers

Journal of Food Protection


Because of increased susceptibility, older adults have an increased risk of foodborne infection, and data suggest elevated incidence; therefore, food hygiene is essential to reduce the risk. Research suggests older adults’ inadequate knowledge and negative attitudes toward food hygiene may increase implementation of unsafe food practices. Data on microbiological contamination of domestic kitchens of older adults are lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to determine microbiological contamination of domestic kitchens of older adults. Food contact surfaces and equipment (n = 1,292) in domestic kitchens (n = 100) of older adults (≥60 years) were analyzed to isolate aerobic bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria spp.; self-reported hygiene practices were also recorded. Highest contamination levels were determined on in-use cleaning equipment (dish brushes, dishcloths, sponges) with aerobic bacteria <9.3 log CFU per item, Enterobacteriaceae <8.8 log CFU per item, and S. aureus <7.0 log CFU per item. Reported usage length of dish brushes was significantly correlated (P< 0.05) with Enterobacteriaceae contamination. Significant correlations (P < 0.05) were determined between contamination and reported cleaning frequency of refrigerators. Contamination of hand towels in single-occupant households was significantly greater (P < 0.05) than in multioccupant households. The study facilitates novel comparison between reported hygiene practices with microbial contamination, suggesting older adults fail to implement adequate and regular hygiene practices that may increase the possibility of cross-contamination in the domestic kitchen and the associated risk of foodborne illness. Data from this study have determined a need for older adults to improve food hygiene practices in the domestic kitchen.

  • In-use dish brushes and dishcloths were most commonly contaminated with high counts of bacteria.

  • Correlations existed between dishcloth contamination and multiple kitchen sites.

  • Reported dish brush usage length was significantly correlated with contamination level.

  • Reported time since cleaning of refrigerators was positively correlated with contamination levels.

  • Inadequate and irregular hygiene practices may increase foodborne illness risk to older adults.

Research – Effect of Sodium Hypochlorite on Biofilm-Forming Ability of Histamine-Producing Bacteria Isolated from Fish

Journal of Food Protection


Histamine poisoning occurs when temperature-abused marine fish containing elevated levels of histamine are consumed. Histamine-producing bacteria found in fish can colonize processing surfaces and form biofilms. In this study, the biofilm-forming abilities of histamine-producing bacteria from Indian mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta) and the effect of hypochlorite treatment on biofilm formation were studied. The isolates of this study produced histamine in the range of 471 to 2,126 ppm. The histidine decarboxylase gene hdc was detected in all isolates producing histamine except in one strain each of Psychrobacter pulmonis and Proteus vulgaris. All isolates tested in this study produced moderate biofilms under control conditions, whereas exposure to 1 and 3 ppm of sodium hypochlorite significantly enhanced biofilm formation. However, exposure to 5 ppm of sodium hypochlorite showed an inhibitory effect on biofilm formation by all the isolates except Klebsiella variicola. The results of this study suggest that histamine-producing bacteria can form stable biofilms and that this activity may be enhanced by the application of low levels of sodium hypochlorite, a phenomenon that might influence the persistence of histamine-producing bacteria in fish processing areas.

  • Bacteria isolated from Indian mackerel produced histamine in the range of 471 to 2,126 ppm.

  • Histamine-producing bacteria isolated from the same fish can vary in the levels of histamine produced.

  • The hdc gene was not detected in one strain each of Psychrobacter pulmonis and Proteus vulgaris.

  • All histamine-producing bacteria formed moderate biofilms under control conditions.

  • Exposure to 1 and 3 ppm of sodium hypochlorite increased biofilm formation by histamine-producing bacteria.

RASFF Alerts – Animal Feed – Enterobacteriaceae – Feed for Ornamental Fish – Raw Pet Food


RASFF – high count of Enterobacteriaceae (150 CFU/g) in feed for ornamental fishes from China in Germany

RASFF – too high count of Enterobacteriaceae (190; 89; 21;140; 86 CFU/g) in frozen raw pet food from the Netherlands in Belgium

RASFF Alert – Animal Feed – Enterobacteriaceae – Fish Meal


RASFF – too high count of Enterobacteriaceae (460 CFU/g) in fish meal from Turkey in Germany

RASFF Alert – Animal Feed – Enterobacteriaceae – Raw Pet Food for Dogs


RASFF – high count of Enterobacteriaceae (7300 CFU/g) in raw pet food for dogs from the United Kingdom in Croatia