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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

Print version ISSN 1517-8382On-line version ISSN 1678-4405


CRUZ, C.D. et al. Epidemiological Survey of Listeria monocytogenes in a gravlax salmon processing line. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2008, vol.39, n.2, pp.375-383. ISSN 1517-8382.

Listeria monocytogenes is a cause of concern to food industries, mainly for those producing ready-to-eat (RTE) products. This microorganism can survive processing steps such as curing and cold smoking and is capable of growing under refrigeration temperatures. Its presence in RTE fish products with extended shelf life may be a risk to the susceptible population. One example of such a product is gravlax salmon; a refrigerated fish product not exposed to listericidal processes and was the subject of this study. In order to evaluate the incidence and dissemination of L. monocytogenes 415 samples were collected at different steps of a gravlax salmon processing line in São Paulo state, Brazil. L. monocytogenes was confirmed in salmon samples (41%), food contact surfaces (32%), non-food contact surfaces (43%) and of food handlers' samples (34%), but could not be detected in any ingredient. 179 L. monocytogenes isolates randomly selected were serogrouped and typed by PFGE. Most of L. monocytogenes strains belonged to serogroup 1 (73%). 61 combined pulsotypes were found and a dendrogram identified six clusters: most of the strains (120) belonged to cluster A. It was suggested that strains arriving into the plant via raw material could establish themselves in the processing environment contaminating the final product. The wide dissemination of L. monocytogenes in this plant indicates that a great effort has to be taken to eliminate the microorganism from these premises, even though it was not observed multiplication of the microorganism in the final product stored at 4ºC up to 90 days.

Keywords : Listeria monocytogenes; gravlax salmon; PFGE.

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