Category Archives: Food Microbiology Blog

Research – Foods implicated in U.S. outbreaks differ from the types most commonly consumed

Journal of Food Protection

Foodborne disease outbreak investigations identify foods responsible for illnesses. However, it is not known the degree to which foods implicated in outbreaks reflect the distribution of food consumption in the U.S. population or the risk associated with their consumption. To examine this, we compared the distribution of foods in 24 categories implicated in outbreaks to the distribution of foods consumed by the U.S. population. Beef, chicken, eggs, fish, herbs, mollusks, pork, sprouts, seeded vegetables, and turkey were implicated in outbreaks significantly more often than expected based on the frequency of their consumption in the general population, suggesting a higher risk of contamination or mishandling from foods in these categories than in others. In contrast, pasteurized dairy, fruits, grains-beans, oils and sugars, and root/underground vegetables were less frequently implicated in outbreaks than they were consumed in the general population, suggesting a lower risk for these food categories.

Research – Bacteria Broadly-Resistant to Last Resort Antibiotics Detected in Commercial Chicken Farms

MDPI

Resistance to last resort antibiotics in bacteria is an emerging threat to human and animal health. It is important to identify the source of these antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria that are resistant to clinically important antibiotics and evaluate their potential transfer among bacteria. The objectives of this study were to (i) detect bacteria resistant to colistin, carbapenems, and β-lactams in commercial poultry farms, (ii) characterize phylogenetic and virulence markers of E. coli isolates to potentiate virulence risk, and (iii) assess potential transfer of AMR from these isolates via conjugation. Ceca contents from laying hens from conventional cage (CC) and cage-free (CF) farms at three maturity stages were randomly sampled and screened for extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter (CRA), and colistin resistant Escherichia coli (CRE) using CHROMagar™ selective media. We found a wide-spread abundance of CRE in both CC and CF hens across all three maturity stages. Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli phylogenetic groups B2 and D, as well as plasmidic virulence markers iss and iutA, were widely associated with AMR E. coli isolates. ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae were uniquely detected in the early lay period of both CC and CF, while multidrug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter were found in peak and late lay periods of both CC and CF. CRA was detected in CF hens only. blaCMY was detected in ESBL-producing E. coli in CC and CF and MDR Acinetobacter spp. in CC. Finally, the blaCMY was shown to be transferrable via an IncK/B plasmid in CC. The presence of MDR to the last-resort antibiotics that are transferable between bacteria in food-producing animals is alarming and warrants studies to develop strategies for their mitigation in the environment. View Full-Text

Research – NIH scientists study salmonella swimming behavior as clues to infection

NIH

Salmonellaa

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium bacteria (S. Typhimurium) commonly cause human gastroenteritis, inflammation of the lining of the intestines. The bacteria live inside the gut and can infect the epithelial cells that line its surface. Many studies have shown that Salmonella use a “run-and-tumble” method of short swimming periods (runs) punctuated by tumbles when they randomly change direction, but how they move within the gut is not well understood.

National Institutes of Health scientists and their colleagues believe they have identified a S. Typhimurium protein, McpC (Methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein C), that allows the bacteria to swim straight when they are ready to infect cells. This new study, published in Nature Communications, describes S. Typhimurium movement and shows that McpC is required for the bacteria to invade surface epithelial cells in the gut.

The study authors suggest that McpC is a potential target for developing new antibacterial treatments to hinder the ability of S. Typhimurium to infect intestinal epithelial cells and colonize the gut. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases scientists at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, led the study. Collaborators included groups from the University of Texas A&M campuses in College Station and Kingsville.

Singapore – Eng’s Heritage at Northpoint suspended after 26 people had food poisoning

Yahoo News

Authorities have suspended the licence of Eng’s Heritage from Wednesday (13 January) until further notice, after 26 people who ate at the wonton noodle chain’s Northpoint outlet came down with food poisoning.

Five of the 26 cases are currently hospitalised and are in a stable condition, while one additional case has been discharged from hospital, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said in a joint release.

The patrons reportedly had gastroenteritis symptoms after they consumed food at the outlet between 7 and 9 January, MOH and SFA added.

All food handlers working in the suspended premises are required to re-attend and pass the Basic Food Hygiene Course, before they can resume work as food handlers.

The appointed food hygiene officers working at the suspended premises are also required to re-attend and pass the food hygiene officer course before they can resume work.

RASFF – Aflatoxins – Almonds – Dried Figs – Organic Pistachios Kernels – Groundnut Kernels

European Food Alerts

RASFF

aflatoxins (B1 = 10; Tot. = 23 µg/kg – ppb) in almonds from the United States in Spain

RASFF

aflatoxins (B1 = 15.6; Tot. = 22 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Turkey in Denmark

RASFF

aflatoxins (B1 = 110; Tot. = 120 µg/kg – ppb) in organic pistachio kernels from Turkey in the Netherlands

RASFF

aflatoxins (B1 = 30; Tot. = 33 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnut kernels from Argentina in the Netherlands

RASFF Alerts – Listeria monocytogenes – Blanched maize Kernels – Swett Chilli Chicken Wraps – Chilled Cheese

European Food Alerts

RASFF

Listeria monocytogenes (present /25g) in frozen blanched sweet maize kernels from Hungary in Switzerland

RASFF

Listeria monocytogenes (in 2 out of 5 samples /25g) in chilled sweet chilli chicken wraps from the Netherlands in the Netherlands

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Listeria monocytogenes (<10 CFU/g) in chilled cheese from the Netherlands in France

RASFF Alert – Hepatitis A – Dried Tomato’s

European Food Alerts

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hepatitis A virus (presence /25g) in dried tomatoes from Turkey in Greece

RASFF Alert -Ochratoxin A – Dried Figs

European Food Alerts

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ochratoxin A (131 µg/kg – ppb) in dried figs from Turkey in Germany

RASFF Alert – E.coli – Raw Milk Sheeps Cheese

European Food Alerts

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high count of Escherichia coli (1300000 CFU/g) in raw milk sheep’s cheese from Portugal in France

RASFF Alert – DSP – Frozen Shelled Mussels

European Food Alerts

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Diarrhoeic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins – okadaic acid (96.5 µg/kg – ppb) in frozen shelled mussels from Spain in France