Tag Archives: food chain

Research – A Scoping Review of the Role of Wildlife in the Transmission of Bacterial Pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistance to the Food Chain

Wiley Online Library Salmonellaa

Wildlife can contribute to environmental contamination with bacterial pathogens and their transfer to the human food chain. Global usage and frequent misuse of antimicrobials contribute to emergence of new antimicrobial resistant (AMR) strains of foodborne pathogens. We conducted a scoping review of published research to identify and characterize the evidence on wildlife’s role in transmission of AMR and/or bacterial pathogens to the food chain. An advisory group (AG) of 13 North American experts from diverse disciplines was surveyed to solicit insight in the review scope, priority topics and research characteristics. A pre-tested search strategy was implemented in seven bibliographic databases (1990 to January 2013). Citations were relevance screened, and key characteristics on priority topics extracted independently by two reviewers. Analysis identified topic areas with solid evidence and main knowledge gaps. North America reported 30% of 866 relevant articles. The prevalence of five targeted bacterial pathogens and/or AMR in any pathogen in wildlife was reported in 582 articles. Transmission risk factors for selected bacteria or AMR in any bacteria were reported in 300. Interventions to control transmission were discussed in 124 articles and formally evaluated in 50. The majority of primary research investigated birds, cervids, rodents, feral pigs, opossums, E. coli (n = 329), Salmonella (n = 293) and Campylobacter (n = 124). An association between wildlife and transmission of bacterial pathogens and/or AMR to the food chain was supported in 122 studies. The scoping review identified a significant body of research on the role of wild birds in the prevalence and transmission of E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. There was little research employing molecular methods contributing to the evidence concerning the importance and direction of transmission of wildlife/pathogen combinations. Given the advancements of these methods, future research should focus in this area to help prioritize future intervention studies and risk mitigation strategies.

Research – Pathogens in Cheese: Researchers Follow the Traces of Deadly Bacteria


If food products are not produced in a hygienic environment, consumers can face the threat of dangerous pathogens. This is exactly what happened in 2009 and 2010 when two different strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in the traditional Austrian curd cheese known as “Quargel.” Thirty-four people were infected, and a total of eight patients died. Experts from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna analysed the genomes of the outbreak strains and were able to show that the strains displayed distinct properties and entered the food chain independently. The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE and will increase the understanding of outbreaks and their prevention.

I’m happy to report that we see relatively few cases of listeriosis here in Austria. When an outbreak occurs though, the disease has among the highest mortality rate of all food-borne illnesses,” explains lead author Kathrin Rychli from the Institute for Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. The Institute was involved in investigating the causes of the outbreaks back in 2009 and 2010. The culprits: two distinct bacterial strains which had not recently evolved from a common ancestor, and therefore entered the food chain independently.

In their current study, the scientists sequenced and analysed the genomes of both strains, and assessed their virulence, the ability to infect cells. The samples were taken from listeriosis patients from the outbreak.

Research- Tracing Viruses in the European Berry Food Chain

Science DirectClose up 3d render of an influenza-like virus isolated on white

In recent years, numerous foodborne outbreaks due to consumption of berry fruit contaminated by human enteric viruses have been reported. This European multinational study investigated possible contamination routes by monitoring the entire food chain for a panel of human and animal enteric viruses.

A total of 785 samples were collected throughout the food production chain of four European countries (Czech Republic, Finland, Poland and Serbia) during two growing seasons. Samples were taken during the production phase, the processing phase, and at point-of-sale. Samples included irrigation water, animal faeces, food handlers’ hand swabs, swabs from toilets on farms, from conveyor belts at processing plants, and of raspberries or strawberries at points-of-sale; all were subjected to virus analysis. The samples were analysed by real-time (reverse transcription, RT)-PCR, primarily for human adenoviruses (hAdV) to demonstrate that a route of contamination existed from infected persons to the food supply chain. The analyses also included testing for the presence of selected human (norovirus, NoV GI, NoV GII and hepatitis A virus, HAV), animal (porcine adenovirus, pAdV and bovine polyomavirus, bPyV) and zoonotic (hepatitis E virus, HEV) viruses.

At berry production, hAdV was found in 9.5%, 5.8% and 9.1% of samples of irrigation water, food handlers’ hands and toilets, respectively. At the processing plants, hAdV was detected in one (2.0%) swab from a food handler’s hand. At point-of-sale, the prevalence of hAdV in fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries and fresh strawberries, was 0.7%, 3.2% and 2.0%, respectively.

Of the human pathogenic viruses, NoV GII was detected in two (3.6%) water samples at berry production, but no HAV was detected in any of the samples. HEV-contaminated frozen raspberries were found once (2.6%). Animal faecal contamination was evidenced by positive pAdV and bPyV assay results. At berry production, one water sample contained both viruses, and at point-of-sale 5.7% and 1.3% of fresh and frozen berries tested positive for pAdV.

At berry production hAdV was found both in irrigation water and on food handler’s hands, which indicated that these may be important vehicles by which human pathogenic viruses enter the berry fruit chain. Moreover, both zoonotic and animal enteric viruses could be detected on the end products. This study gives insight into viral sources and transmission routes and emphasizes the necessity for thorough compliance with good agricultural and hygienic practice at the farms to help protect the public from viral infections.