Category Archives: Food Microbiology Blog

Research – An assessment of the microbiological quality and safety of unpasteurised milk cheese for sale in England during 2019 – 2020

Journal of Food Protection

Cheese made with unpasteurised milk has been associated with outbreaks of illness. However, there are limited data on the prevalence of shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) in these products, and a lack of clarity over the significance of E. coli as general indicators of hygiene in raw milk cheeses. The aim of this study was to provide further data to address both of these issues as well as assessing the overall microbiological quality of raw milk cheeses available to consumers in England. A total of 629 samples of cheese were collected from retailers, catering premises and manufacturers throughout England. The majority (80%) were made using cow’s milk with 14% made from sheep’s milk and 5% from goat’s milk. Samples were from 18 different countries of origin, with the majority originating from either the UK (40%) or France (35%). When interpreted against EU microbiological criteria and UK guidance, 82% were considered to be of satisfactory microbiological quality, 5% were borderline and 12% were unsatisfactory. Four samples (0.6%) were potentially injurious to health due to the isolation of STEC from one, >10 4 cfu/g of coagulase positive staphylococci in two and >100 cfu/g of Listeria monocytogenes in the fourth sample. Indicator E. coli and Listeria species were detected more frequently in soft compared to hard cheese. Higher levels of indicator E. coli were significantly associated with a greater likelihood of detecting shiga toxin genes ( stx 1 and/or stx 2).

Research- Estimation of the Impact of Foodborne Salmonellosis on Consumer Well-Being in Hungary

MDPI

In Hungary, salmonellosis is one of the most frequent foodborne illnesses. According to our estimation, based on a representative consumer survey with 1001 respondents, the annual number of salmonellosis cases exceeded 90,000, which was 18 times higher than the officially reported data. Salmonellosis infections impose significant direct and indirect costs to the health care system, to companies (as employers) and to households. This study focused on the cost to households by analysing well-being losses due to Salmonella infections, for which the WTP (willingness-to-pay) method was used. WTP measures the cost that an individual would pay to avoid an undesirable harm or health outcome. For estimating WTP, 456 respondents gave quantifiable answers. The average WTP to avoid salmonellosis was 86.3 EUR. Based on this data, the total consumer well-being loss could be estimated to be about 7.87 million EUR per year in Hungary. These results indicate that consumers’ well-being losses alone would necessitate further interventions for Salmonella reduction.

Research – Survival of Salmonella enterica in Military Low Moisture Food Products during Long Term Storage at 4°C, 25°C and 40°C

Journal of Food Protection

Salmonella enterica  has been increasingly implicated in foodborne outbreaks involving low moisture foods (LMF) during the recent decade. This study aimed to investigate the potential for persistence of  Salmonella enterica  in a range of low moisture foods (LMF) during storage at 3 temperatures. LMF products, boil-in-bag eggs (freeze dried product), chocolate protein drink, cran-raspberry first strike bars, mocha dessert bar, and peanut butter, were inoculated with a five strain cocktail of S. enterica and stored at 4°C, 25°C, or 40°C for 36 mos. Salmonella populations remained above 7 log CFU/g in all products stored at 4°C and above 6 log CFU/g in products stored at 25°C excluding the cran-raspberry bars. Storage at 40°C resulted in Salmonella populations above 5.5 log CFU/g in boil-in-bag eggs after 36 mos and demonstrated survivability for 12 mos or less in the other five products.  Additionally, a mocha bar production temperature profile study identified rapid cooling of bars in which the temperatures reached would have no measurable impact on  Salmonella  populations. The results indicate the ability of  Salmonella  to survive in a variety of LMF category foods even under adverse storage conditions and identifies how the food matrix may affect  Salmonella  survivability. The data indicate the importance of establishing food processing procedures that adequately mitigate the presence of Salmonella throughout food processing systems while also increasing comprehensive understanding of Salmonella survivability mechanisms.

Research -Surveillance of Fresh Artisanal Cheeses Revealed High Levels of Listeria monocytogenes Contamination in the Department of Quindío, Colombia

MDPI

Listeriosis is a foodborne disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes. Because outbreaks of listeriosis are associated with the ingestion of contaminated dairy products, surveillance of artisanal cheeses to detect the presence of this microorganism is necessary. We collected three types of artisanal non-acid fresh cheese (Campesino, Costeño, and Cuajada) from 12 municipalities of the Department of Quindío, Colombia. L. monocytogenes was identified using VIDAS® and confirmed with API® Listeria Rapid Kit. L. monocytogenes was detected in 104 (53.6%) of the 194 artisanal fresh-cheese samples analyzed. The highest percentages of contamination were detected in Salento (90.9%), Calracá (65.5%), Armenia (64.9%), and Filandia (50%). A significant association between municipality and contamination with L. monocytogenes was identified. However, no association could be established between the type of cheese and the occurrence of the bacterium. This is the first study on the presence of L. monocytogenes in artisanal fresh cheeses sold in the municipalities of the Department of Quindío, and the findings revealed very high percentages of contaminated samples. The presence of L. monocytogenes in artisanal cheeses remains a public health threat in developing countries, especially Colombia, where existing legislation does not require the surveillance of L. monocytogenes in food. View Full-Text

Italy -Smoked swordfish – Listeria monocytogenes

Salute

Brand : Gastronomia Valdarnese

Denomination : Smoked swordfish

Reason for reporting : Recall due to microbiological risk

Publication date : 22 October 2021

Click to access C_17_PubblicazioneRichiami_1532_azione_itemAzione0_files_itemFiles0_fileAzione.pdf

Research – Characterization of Escherichia coli from Edible Insect Species: Detection of Shiga Toxin-Producing Isolate

MDPI

ecoli

Insects as novel foods are gaining popularity in Europe. Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 laid the framework for the application process to market food insects in member states, but potential hazards are still being evaluated. The aim of this study was to investigate samples of edible insect species for the presence of antimicrobial-resistant and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Twenty-one E. coli isolates, recovered from samples of five different edible insect species, were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, PCR-based phylotyping, and macrorestriction analysis. The presence of genes associated with antimicrobial resistance or virulence, including stx1stx2, and eae, was investigated by PCR. All isolates were subjected to genome sequencing, multilocus sequence typing, and serotype prediction. The isolates belonged either to phylogenetic group A, comprising mostly commensal E. coli, or group B1. One O178:H7 isolate, recovered from a Zophobas atratus sample, was identified as a STEC. A single isolate was resistant to tetracyclines and carried the tet(B) gene. Overall, this study shows that STEC can be present in edible insects, representing a potential health hazard. In contrast, the low resistance rate among the isolates indicates a low risk for the transmission of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli to consumers. View Full-Text

UK – The Global Food Safety Incidents and Emergency Response Conference 2021

FSA

Last week, after six months of planning, the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland jointly hosted the entirely virtual GFSIER Conference 2021.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended over the three days. As a team, the Incidents and Resilience Unit are delighted to have had 650 registered delegates representing over 80 countries.

It proved really productive and was such a positive experience to meet worldwide counterparts and establish new contacts within the regulatory and food systems.

Aims of the conference

The conference aimed to address how to enhance food safety and food security in a changing world.

It enabled us to come together to explore how we can improve global food security through sharing of best practice, working collaboratively and learning from each other.

The event also focused on keeping food safety incident and crisis response high on the agenda.

Reflecting on the three days and working with my team to plan for the future, I really do think we achieved what we set out to do.

Day one – Food safety regulators around the world

Professor Susan Jebb, FSA Chair, opened the conference discussing the current challenges in the world of food safety.

Co-operationco-ordinationcommunicationdata sharing and new technologies were all high on the agenda.

Dr Francesco Branca, Head of Nutrition and Food Safety at the World Health Organization, started the response to these challenges by talking about the role of INFOSAN in food safety incidents and the broader food system.

A key conclusion was that, due to the improved technologies and methods to detect and monitor food safety events, there is, and will continue to be, a higher number of food safety incidents statistically.

This does not necessarily mean that there are more food safety events, but rather that more existing events are being detected. This improved detection can only benefit us and our counterparts around the world in improving prevention.

Of course, with the continued rise of global food trade we can expect an increase in complex, international food safety incidents. This alone highlights the importance for nations and stakeholders being actively involved in international food safety networks, allowing us all to open and maintain vital communication channels.

Discussions on the first day covered surveillance and data, new technology in incident management and food authenticity and food crime.

There is a lot of work around surveillance and data happening across the globe and the importance of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and predicative modelling is key.

We must focus on how we are working and collaborating in the development of ever more sophisticated tools for the sharing of data. We must ensure we keep up with greater demands in the future for analysing and interpretating evidence.

AI will be important in assisting with the resource implications of increased detection of incidents.

Other new technologies highlighted by the conference included new analytical techniques being used to assess food authenticity and identify food fraud, remote surveillance made possible using mobile phone and camera recordings, and whole genome sequencing to identify food outbreaks which in previous years we would never have identified.

Social science is also playing a part in food safety in helping us to understand not just what consumers are eating, but allowing us to listen to consumers and understand their concerns. Overall, I think we are in a good place as regulators to set high standards as we embrace new technology.

Day two – International collaboration and food safety

The conference benefited from input from all four UK devolved nations over the three days. it was useful to hear from the Northern Ireland and Welsh Food Advisory Committees to open day two.

How we work and co-ordinate across the four nations is invaluable and sets an example for how other countries can collaborate both internally and internationally.

The food industry was inevitably at the heart of most discussions covered by the conference.

It was great to hear from Steve Purser from Tesco PLC, to learn about industry priorities and food safety challenges from a different perspective. It was clear that collaboration and information sharing are high on the food industry’s agenda too.

Representatives from industry, regulators and public health authorities then joined me to reflect on best practice and share their top tips from an incident or emergency that they had been involved in. Learning from our own and others’ experience is invaluable, and I hope such lessons have proved useful for all the delegates.

The outbreaks, risk communication and crisis management breakout sessions added further insight as to where we should focus our attention.

We are always aiming for more open data sharing as well as good integration of all available sources including epidemiological, environmental, food chain and microbiological information.

Various platforms exist for sharing genomic data and I see potential for expanding the scope and use of other platforms, including INFOSAN. Communication of risks requires partnership working and we need to consider other nations’ access to systems and capacity to deal with food incidents, while supporting each other to improve where we can.

A phrase used regularly during the conference was ‘honest uncertainty’ and I believe being open and transparent, even when pressed for a quick answer is important.

With the food safety challenges we face, increasing crisis management and incident response is a global challenge, not bound by borders.

We are building new partnerships all the time and I look forward to seeing these relationships develop as we tackle more issues together.

Day three – Global priorities for food safety

The final day of the conference was opened by Ross Finnie, FSS Chair. He provided insight into priorities and challenges for the UK and fellow regulators. This set us up for a day of debate and discussion, allowing us to pull together learnings and objectives to take forward.

Having Dr Peter Ben Embarek, Head of WHO One Health Initiative (OHI) and Steve Wearne, Director, Global Affairs, Food Standards Agency and Vice Chair of Codex Alimentarius Commission present, really brought home how food is a global commodity and how food safety is a global challenge.

You can read Steve Wearne’s post-event article about Codex on LinkedIn.

To finish we welcomed colleagues from around the globe to give their views on harmonisation and best practice across differing international regulatory systems and future challenges for industry and regulators.

FSA Chief Executive Emily Miles and FSS Chief Executive Geoff Ogle brought the conference to a close as they summed up the debate and shared key learnings and challenges with delegates.

As I reflect on the conference, the things my team and I will take away are:

  • the importance of data sharing and the benefits of getting it right;
  • the part we play in improving public trust in us as regulators;
  • how we can utilise information sources available to us and;
  • how we can support countries with less capacity to deal with food incidents.

All in all, a really interesting three days – thank you to everyone involved.

France – RAW MILK GOAT CHEESES – E.coli

Gov france

Identifying information for the recalled product

  • Product category Food
  • Product sub-category Milk and dairy products
  • Product brand name GOAT CHEESES
  • Names of models or references GAEC DES PRAIRIES
  • Product identification

    Lot Dated 299/309/110/210/310/410/510/610

    Use-by date between 10/29/2021 and 11/06/2021 79/89/99/109/119/129/139/149/159/169/179/189/199/209/219/229/239/249/259/269/279/289/299/309/110 / 210/310/410/510/610

  • Start date / End of marketing From 09/29/2021 to 10/07/2021
  • Storage temperature Product to be stored at room temperature
  • Geographical sales area Departments: HAUTE-LOIRE (43)
  • Distributors Torrilhon salting

Practical information regarding the recall

  • Reason for recall Risk of E.Coli
  • Risks incurred by the consumer Escherichia coli

France – COW CHEESE IN RAW MILK – E.coli

Gov france

Identifying information for the recalled product

  • Product category Food
  • Product sub-category Milk and dairy products
  • Product brand name THE DELICE OF THE PRAIRIES
  • Names of models or references THE GAEC DES PRAIRIES
  • Product identification

    Lot Dated 79/89/99/109/119/149/159/169/179/189/219/229/249/259/289/299/110/210/510/610

    Recommended consumption date between 07/12/2021 and 06/01/2022

  • Start date / End of marketing From 09/27/2021 to 10/07/2021
  • Storage temperature Product to be stored at room temperature
  • Geographical sales area Regions: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
  • Distributors Le fromager des halles brives, Clermont neyrat, Thiers, Clermont saint jean, lempdes Intermarché St paulien Super U Langeac Ardèche cicada Proxi Espaly and Loudes Salaison torrilhon Salaison du Velay Chabanon, Méjean, jacob Colombet J

Practical information regarding the recall

  • Reason for recall presence of E.Coli
  • Risks incurred by the consumer Escherichia coli

France – Half-goat, half-cow cheese made from raw milk – Salmonella

Gov france

Identifying information for the recalled product

  • Product category Food
  • Product sub-category Milk and dairy products
  • Product brand name GAEC DU MOLLARD
  • Names of models or references Half-goat, half-cow cheese made from raw milk
  • Product identification
    Lot
    Half-goat half-cow cheese made from raw milk sold between 02 October 2021 and 16 October 2021
  • Products List product_list.pdf Enclosed
  • Packaging piece
  • Start date / End of marketing From 02/10/2021 to 16/10/2021
  • Storage temperature Product to be stored in the refrigerator
  • Geographical sales area Departments: LOIRE (42)
  • Distributors GAEC DU MOLLARD FR BUTCHER LA GRANGE DES PAYSANS
  • List of points of saleList_Selling_Points.pdf

Practical information regarding the recall

  • Reason for recall Salmonella
  • Risks incurred by the consumer Salmonella spp (causative agent of salmonellosis)