Category Archives: Research

Ireland -Salmonella infection in Ireland, 2017


The 414 cases notified in 2017 were the highest number of salmonellosis cases reported
in Ireland since 2008
 International travel is a large contributor to the overall burden of salmonellosis in Ireland (40%), in particular in summer months
 The most common serotypes reported in Ireland and internationally are S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium, with S. Typhimurium the more prevalent among cases acquired in
 The highest reported incidence was in children under five years, with this effect being
more pronounced among cases acquired in Ireland
 A large outbreak of S. Brandenburg in HSE-E resulted in this serotype being the third
most common serotype in Ireland this year. This highlights the continued potential for
foodborne outbreaks of salmonellosis
 The introduction of WGS at the NSSLRL has contributed to confirmation of suspected
outbreaks and to the identification of outbreaks which may not have been recognised on
epidemiological grounds alone
 WGS has also enabled a small cluster of cases in Ireland to be recognised as being part
of a much larger EU incident

Research – Bursting bubbles launch bacteria from water to air

Science Daily

Wherever there’s water, there’s bound to be bubbles floating at the surface. From standing puddles, lakes, and streams, to swimming pools, hot tubs, public fountains, and toilets, bubbles are ubiquitous, indoors and out.

A new MIT study shows how bubbles contaminated with bacteria can act as tiny microbial grenades, bursting and launching microorganisms, including potential pathogens, out of the water and into the air.

In the study, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the researchers found that bacteria can affect a bubble’s longevity: A bacteria-covered bubble floating at the water’s surface can last more than 10 times longer than an uncontaminated one can, persisting for minutes instead of seconds. During this time, the cap of the contaminated bubble thins. The thinner the bubble, the higher the number of droplets it can launch into the air when the bubble inevitably bursts. A single droplet, the researchers estimate, can carry up to thousands of microorganisms, and each bubble can emit hundreds of droplets.

Research – Molecular detection and genotype identification of Toxoplasma gondii in domestic and industrial eggs

Wiley Online 



Birds are important intermediated hosts of Toxoplasma gondii. Consumption of chicken meat and its infected products is one of the main sources of human infection with T. gondii. However, little information is available about T. gondii infection in egg. In this study, the contamination of industrial and local eggs with Toxoplasma was investigated by PCR method targeting the RE gene in two tropical cities of Iran. Genotypes of T. gondii were determined by PCR‐RFLP method targeting the SAG3 gene. T. gondii DNA was detected in 11% (22/200) of the eggs. Genotyping of 14 T. gondii isolates revealed that all of the isolates were belonged to genotype III of T. gondii. Sequencing of the isolates by the SAG3 gene showed 95%–100% similarity with the T. gondii isolates in GenBank.

Practical applications

The findings of this study suggested that consumption of raw or undercooked eggs might play a role in human infection with Toxoplasma. Hence, consumption of adequately cooked eggs should be considered for prevention of human toxoplasmosis.

Research – Novel Continuous and Manual Sampling Methods for Beef Trim Microbiological Testing

Journal of Food Protection

A sampling method that represents a greater proportion of the beef trimmings in a 900-kg combo bin should improve the current pathogen sampling and detection programs used by fresh beef processors. This study compared two novel, nondestructive sampling methodologies (a continuous sampling device [CSD] and a manual sampling device [MSD]) with the current industry methodologies, the N60 Excision (the “gold standard”) and N60 Plus, for collection of trim samples. Depending on the experiment, samples were analyzed for naturally occurring Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella, inoculated surrogates, or indicator organisms in multiple plants, on multiple days, across multiple lean percentage mixtures. Experiments 1A and 1B with natural contamination found no E. coli O157:H7 but similar (P > 0.05) prevalence of Salmonella (CSD 9.2% versus N60 Excision 6.0%) and similar (P > 0.05) levels of indicator organisms for CSD compared with both N60 methodologies. In experiments 2 and 3, CSD cloth sampling had the same or higher prevalence of naturally occurring E. coli O157:H7 and E. coli O157:H7 surrogate organisms, as well as similar levels of indicator organisms compared with the N60 methodologies. In experiment 4, MSD cloth sampling detected similar (P > 0.05) prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 surrogate organisms, as well as slightly lower (P < 0.05) levels of indicator organisms compared with N60 Plus. In experiment 5, the MSD found similar (P > 0.05) prevalence of naturally occurring E. coli O157:H7 and the same or slightly higher (P < 0.05) levels of naturally occurring indicator organisms compared with N60 Plus. In experiment 6, the MSD detected the same (P > 0.05) prevalence of naturally occurring Salmonella as did N60 Excision. The results of these experiments collectively demonstrate that sampling beef trim using either the CSD or MSD provides organism recovery that is similar to or better than the N60 Excision or the N60 Plus methodologies.

UK – Publication of survey of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria in chicken and pork


We have today published the results of a survey we commissioned to assess the amount of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria in fresh pork mince and fresh and frozen chicken on sale in shops in the UK. These findings will help to establish a baseline of the occurrence, types and levels of AMR in bacteria found in these UK retail meats which will inform future surveillance on AMR in these foods.

This survey follows on from an authoritative report by a group established by the Advisory Committee on Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) to advise us on research questions and potential approaches to AMR in the food chain.

The survey involved the testing of Campylobacter in chicken samples and Salmonella in pork mince samples for the occurrence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. The survey also looked for AMR in other bacteria in both types of meat including Enterococci, Klebsiella and Escherichia coli.  Read the final report of the survey.

Research -Don’t kill, but tame the bacteria

All About Feed

Producing broiler meat with the label ‘no antibiotics ever’ is becoming a common thing in the US. In the meantime, the poultry sector fears that this leads to a less efficient system, in which it is harder to control major poultry diseases. Luckily, a new set of savvy feed additives that keep bad bacteria under control is on its way.

Salmonella Campylobacter

Poultry production under the philosophy ‘no antibiotics ever’ (NAE), is spreading like a wild fire in the US and also in some other parts of the world. Although this sounds like a good development, and it is, it also comes with challenges, both from a nutritional standpoint as well as keeping the margins and being able to sell the products. At a recent first-annual summer international poultry symposium, organised by Amlan International, the challenges and solutions for poultry producers to produce under antibiotic free systems were discussed in further detail.

Research -Antibacterial Effect of Essential Oils against Spoilage Bacteria from Vacuum-Packed Cooked Cured Sausages

Journal of Food Protection

Nonfermented sausages, which have a pH of around 6.0, a low salt concentration, and high moisture with a water activity higher than 0.95, are highly perishable. In this study, culture-dependent techniques and 16S rDNA approaches were used to identify the presumptive spoilage lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in sliced vacuum-packed cooked sausage during storage at 4°C. The antibacterial properties of essential oils (EOs) from the medicinal plants Carum carvi, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Curcuma longa, Citrus medica, and Eugenia caryophyllata against isolated LAB were also investigated. A total of 106 colonies were obtained on de Man Rogosa Sharpe medium after storage of sausages samples, and 16 isolates were identified from conventional morphological analysis of the bacterial populations. DNA extraction and 16S rDNA analysis indicated that Lactobacillus curvatus, Weissella viridescens, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus dextrinicus, Lactobacillus sakei, and Pediococcus dextrinicus were the main spoilage LAB. The antibacterial properties of EOs against isolated LAB were indicated by inhibition zones on culture plates of 7.8 to 31 mm, depending on the susceptibility of the tested LAB strain. The MICs and MBCs of five EOs were determined. The most effective EO against the LAB was C. zeylanicum followed by C. carvi and C. medica, and the least effective EO was C. longa. The EO from C. zeylanicum had the highest antimicrobial activity (lowest MICs) against LAB, with EO MICs of 4.66 to 5.33 μL/mL. The most susceptible isolate was L. mesenteroides, with a MIC of 4.66 μL/mL for the C. zeylanicum EO. These data indicate that the EO from C. zeylanicum could be used as a natural preservative for vacuum-packed emulsion‐type sausage.