The objective of the Food Safety department is to provide the science to underpin a total chain risk based approach to food safety, focusing on microbial and chemical contaminants in the ‘farm to fork’ food chain.

Recent Submissions

  • Determination of the presence of pathogens and anthelmintic drugs in raw milk and raw milk cheeses from small scale producers in Ireland

    Lourenco, Antonio; Fraga-Corral, Maria; De Colli, Lorenzo; Moloney, Mary; Danaher, Martin; Jordan, Kieran; Depart of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/F/690 (Elsevier, 2020-04-03)
    This aim of this study was to assess the microbiological and anthelmintic drug residue risks associated with raw milk used for cheesemaking and raw milk cheese, over an 18-month period. Samples of raw milk, milk filters, curd and cheese from nine raw milk artisan cheese producers in the south of Ireland were tested. Numbers of presumptive Bacillus cereus group, Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes were determined. The determination of anthelmintic drug residues, including benzimidazoles, flukicides, macrocyclic lactone (avermectin and milbemycins), levamisole and morantel was also performed. Neither L. monocytogenes, nor Salmonella spp. were detected in any of the samples tested and no anthelmintic drug residues were detected. Only one of the samples did not conform with regulatory numbers for other bacteria. This survey has shown a good microbiological and residue quality (and low risk) of the raw milk cheese and raw milk used for raw milk cheese produced in Ireland. Moreover, it has shown the importance of frequent assessment of raw milk used for cheesemaking and for raw milk cheese, as it allows the identification of potential problems facilitating resolution of these issues before they cause any public health threat.
  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotic alternatives: a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

    Willing, Benjamin P; Pepin, Deanna M; Marcolla, Camila S; Forgie, Andrew J; Diether, Natalie E; Bourrie, Benjamin C T (Oxford University Press, 2018-04-28)
    Implications • Substantial pressure to reduce antibiotic use has necessitated the development of antibiotic alternatives. However, relatively little consideration has been given to the development of resistance to these alternatives. • Whether we come up with antibiotic alternatives that are bacteriocidal or inhibitory, bacteria will continue to adapt and evolve. • Some antibiotic alternatives support the development of antibiotic resistance necessitating caution. • There are opportunities to optimize antibiotic alternative effectiveness as well as to minimize the development of resistance mechanisms.
  • The effects of sequential heat treatment on microbial reduction and spore inactivation during milk processing

    Li, Fang; Hunt, Karen; Buggy, Aoife K.; Murphy, Kevin; Ho, Quang Tri; O'Callaghan, Tom; Butler, Francis; Jordan, Kieran; Tobin, John; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
    Sequential heating processes are commonly applied to milk by the dairy industry as part of their microbiological control strategy. Often pasteurisation at 72 °C is followed by a sequential high heat treatment step of up to 125 °C; however, such severe heat treatment can lead to reduced protein quality. Nine temperature combinations (80–90 °C) were evaluated to assess microbial reduction and whey protein nitrogen index values during pilot scale milk processing. A total of 110 bacterial isolates were identified to species level by 16S rDNA sequencing, with Bacillus licheniformis identified as the dominant species. While the experimental treatments did not achieve microbial reductions comparable with the control heating process, the results of this study provide a benchmark for milk processors relative to the effects of sequential heat treatments on milk and their impact on the survival of both thermally resistant microbial populations and thermally labile milk components during processing.
  • Expression, purification and antimicrobial activity of recombinant pediocin PA-1 M31L, a PA-1 derivative with enhanced stability

    Kuniyoshi, Taís Mayumi; O’ Connor, Paula M.; Arbulu, Sara; Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; Pinheiro de Souza Oliveira, Ricardo; Hill, Collin; Ross, Paul; Cotter, Paul D. (Microbiology Society, 2019-03-01)
    Pediocin, the prototypical class IIa bacteriocin, is an efficient antilisterial molecule. Loss of pediocin PA-1 activity is attributed to methionine oxidation at position 31 and this can be overcome by substituting methionine for leucine (pediocin M31L). The aim of this study was to produce pediocin M31L with enhanced stability by recombinant expression in E. coli cells.
  • A Live Bio-Therapeutic for Mastitis, Containing Lactococcus lactis DPC3147 With Comparable Efficacy to Antibiotic Treatment

    Kitching, Michael; Mathur, Harsh; Flynn, James; Byrne, Noel; Dillon, Pat; Sayers, Riona; Rea, Mary; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; Enterprise Ireland; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-09-27)
    Bovine mastitis is an ongoing significant concern in the dairy and agricultural industry resulting in substantial losses in milk production and revenue. Among the predominant etiological agents of bovine mastitis are Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, and Escherichia coli. Currently, the treatment of choice for bovine mastitis involves the use of commercial therapeutic antibiotic formulations such as TerrexineTM, containing both kanamycin and cephalexin. Such antibiotics are regularly administered in more than one dose resulting in the withholding of milk for processing for a number of days. Here, we describe the optimization of a formulation of Lactococcus lactis DPC3147, that produces the two-component bacteriocin lacticin 3147, in a liquid paraffin-based emulsion (formulation hereafter designated ‘live bio-therapeutic’) for the first time and compare it to the commercial antibiotic formulation TerrexineTM, with a view to treating cows with clinical/sub-clinical mastitis. Critically, in a field trial described here, this ‘ready-to-use’ emulsion containing live L. lactis DPC3147 cells exhibited comparable efficacy to TerrexineTM when used to treat mastitic cows. Furthermore, we found that the L. lactis cells within this novel emulsion-based formulation remained viable for up to 5 weeks, when stored at 4, 22, or 37◦C. The relative ease and cost-effective nature of producing this ‘live bio-therapeutic’ formulation, in addition to its enhanced shelf life compared to previous aqueous-based formulations, indicate that this product could be a viable alternative therapeutic option for bovine mastitis. Moreover, the singledose administration of this ‘live bio-therapeutic’ formulation is a further advantage, as it can expedite the return of the milk to the milk pool, in comparison to some commercial antibiotics. Overall, in this field trial, we show that the live bio-therapeutic formulation displayed a 47% cure rate compared to a 50% cure rate for a commercial antibiotic control, with respect to curing cows with clinical/sub-clinical mastitis. The study suggests that a larger field trial to further demonstrate efficacy is warranted.
  • Ultrasound-Assisted Marination: Role of Frequencies and Treatment Time on the Quality of Sodium-Reduced Poultry Meat

    Inguglia, Elena Sofia; Burgess, Catherine; Kerry, Joseph P.; Tiwari, Brijesh K; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (MDPI AG, 2019-10-11)
    The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of high-power ultrasound (US) to accelerate marination of chicken breast; the effect of ultrasonic frequencies and marination times were investigated on samples containing full sodium levels (FS) or 25% sodium reduction, either by reducing NaCl (R50) or by its partial substitution with KCl (SR). Chicken breasts were marinated in plastic bags immersed in an ultrasonic bath operating with a frequency of 25, 45 or 130 kHz for 1, 3 or 6 h at a temperature of 2.5 ± 0.5 ◦C. Chicken marinated using US had a significantly higher uptake (p < 0.05) of sodium compared to control samples (no US) marinated for the same amount of time. No significant changes were observed in the quality parameters of sonicated chicken samples compared to controls. However, significant decreases (p < 0.05) in lipid oxidation were observed in SR samples when treated by US. These results suggest the use of ultrasound in the meat processing industry as a novel technology for enhancing marination processes and formulation of reduced sodium meat products.
  • The ability of Listeria monocytogenes to form biofilm on surfaces relevant to the mushroom production environment

    Dygico, Lionel Kenneth; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; Grogan, Helen; Burgess, Catherine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14F881 (Elsevier BV, 2020-03-16)
    Due to its ubiquitous nature, Listeria monocytogenes is a threat to all fresh fruits and vegetables, including mushrooms, which are Ireland's largest horticultural crop. Although fresh cultivated mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) have not been previously linked with listeriosis outbreaks, the pathogen still poses a threat to the industry, particularly due to its ability to form biofilms. This threat is highlighted by the multiple recalls of mushroom products caused by L. monocytogenes contamination and by previous studies demonstrating that L. monocytogenes is present in the mushroom production environment. In this study, the biofilm formation potential of L. monocytogenes strains isolated from the mushroom production environment was investigated on materials and at temperatures relevant to mushroom production. A preliminary assessment of biofilm formation of 73 mushroom industry isolates was undertaken using a crystal violet assay on polystyrene microtitre plates. The biofilm formation of a subset (n = 7) of these strains was then assessed on twelve different materials, including materials that are representative of the materials commonly found in the mushroom production environments, using the CDC biofilm reactor. Vertical scanning interferometry was used to determine the surface roughness of the chosen materials. All the strains tested using the CDC biofilm reactor were able to form biofilms on the different surfaces tested but material type was found to be a key determining factor on the levels of biofilm formed. Stainless steel, aluminium, rubber, polypropylene and polycarbonate were all able to support biofilm levels in the range of 4–4.9 log10 CFU/cm2, for seven different L. monocytogenes strains. Mushroom industry-specific materials, including growing nets and tarpaulins, were found to support biofilms levels between 4.7 and 6.7 log10 CFU/cm2. Concrete was found to be of concern as it supported 7.7 log10 CFU/cm2 of biofilm for the same strains; however, sealing the concrete resulted in an approximately 2-log reduction in biofilm levels. The surface roughness of the materials varied greatly between the materials (0.7–3.5 log10 Ra) and was found to have a positive correlation with biofilm formation (rs = 0.573) although marginally significant (P = 0.051). The results of this study indicate that L. monocytogenes can readily form biofilms on mushroom industry relevant surfaces, and additionally identifies surfaces of specific concern, where rigorous cleaning and disinfection is required.
  • The response of foodborne pathogens to osmotic and desiccation stresses in the food chain

    Burgess, Catherine; Gianotti, Andrea; Gruzdev, Nadia; Holah, John; Knøchel, Susanne; Lehner, Angelika; Margas, Edyta; Esser, Stephan Schmitz; Sela (Saldinger), Shlomo; Tresse, Odile; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2016-01-02)
    In combination with other strategies, hyperosmolarity and desiccation are frequently used by the food processing industry as a means to prevent bacterial proliferation, and particularly that of foodborne pathogens, in food products. However, it is increasingly observed that bacteria, including human pathogens, encode mechanisms to survive and withstand these stresses. This review provides an overview of the mechanisms employed by Salmonella spp., Shiga toxin producing E. coli, Cronobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter spp. to tolerate osmotic and desiccation stresses and identifies gaps in knowledge which need to be addressed to ensure the safety of low water activity and desiccated food products.
  • A new sensitive method for the simultaneous chromatographic separation and tandem mass spectrometry detection of anticoccidials, including highly polar compounds, in environmental waters

    Mooney, D; Coxon, C; Richards, Karl G.; Gill, L.W.; Mellander, Per-Erik; Danaher, Martin; Science Foundation Ireland; European Union; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG); et al. (Elsevier, 2020-01-10)
    A sensitive and selective method was developed and validated for the determination of 26 anticoccidial compounds (six ionophores and twenty chemical coccidiostats) in surface and groundwater samples at parts-per-quadrillion (pg L−1) to parts-per-trillion (ng L−1) levels by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection (UHPLC–MS/MS). A range of different analytical columns and mobile phase compositions were evaluated to enhance selectivity and retention of a number of highly polar and basic anticoccidials along with other non-polar coccidiostats. A combined separation, including these problematic polar compounds, was achieved on a phenyl-hexyl column, by binary gradient elution with water/acetonitrile using ammonium formate and formic acid as additives. The anticoccidial residues were extracted from raw, unfiltered, water samples (250 mL) using polymeric divinylbenzene solid phase extraction (SPE) cartridges, with subsequent elution (methanol:acetonitrile:ethyl acetate, 40:40:20, v/v) and concentration prior to determination. The method recovery (at a concentration representative of realistic expected environmental water concentrations based on literature review) ranged from 81% to 105%. The method was successfully validated for 26 anticoccidials, at four concentration levels, in accordance to Commission Decision 2002/657/EC and SANTE/11813/2017 guidelines. Trueness and precision, under within-laboratory reproducibility conditions, ranged from 88% to 111% and 0.9% to 10.3% respectively.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants Circulating among Thermophilic Campylobacter Isolates Recovered from Broilers in Ireland Over a One-Year Period

    Lynch, Caoimhe T.; Lynch, Helen; Burke, Sarah; Hawkins, Kayleigh; Buttimer, Colin; McCarthy, Conor; Egan, John; Whyte, Paul; Bolton, Declan; Coffey, Aidan; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-06-08)
    Campylobacteriosis is the leading cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis, very often associated with poultry consumption. Thermophilic Campylobacter (Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli) isolates (n = 158) recovered from broiler neck skin and caecal contents in Ireland over a one-year period, resistant to at least one of three clinically relevant antimicrobial classes, were screened for resistance determinants. All ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates (n = 99) harboured the C257T nucleotide mutation (conferring the Thr-86-Ile substitution) in conjunction with other synonymous and nonsynonymous mutations, which may have epidemiological value. The A2075G nucleotide mutation and amino acid substitutions in L4 and L22 were detected in all erythromycin-resistant isolates (n = 5). The tetO gene was detected in 100% (n = 119) of tetracycline-resistant isolates and three of which were found to harbour the mosaic tetracycline resistance gene tetO/32/O. Two streptomycin-resistant C. jejuni isolates (isolated from the same flock) harboured ant(6)-Ib, located in a multidrug resistance genomic island, containing aminoglycoside, streptothricin (satA) and tetracycline resistance genes (truncated tetO and mosaic tetO/32/O). The ant(6)-Ie gene was identified in two streptomycin-resistant C. coli isolates. This study highlights the widespread acquisition of antimicrobial resistance determinants among chicken-associated Campylobacter isolates, through horizontal gene transfer or clonal expansion of resistant lineages. The stability of such resistance determinants is compounded by the fluidity of mobile genetic element.
  • The response of foodborne pathogens to osmotic and desiccation stresses in the food chain

    Burgess, Catherine; Gianotti, Andrea; Gruzdev, Nadia; Holah, John; Knøchel, Susanne; Lehner, Angelika; Margas, Edyta; Schmitz Esser, Stephan; Sela (Saldinger), Shlomo; Tresse, Odile; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-01-02)
    In combination with other strategies, hyperosmolarity and desiccation are frequently used by the food processing industry as a means to prevent bacterial proliferation, and particularly that of foodborne pathogens, in food products. However, it is increasingly observed that bacteria, including human pathogens, encode mechanisms to survive and withstand these stresses. This review provides an overview of the mechanisms employed by Salmonella spp., Shiga toxin producing E. coli, Cronobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter spp. to tolerate osmotic and desiccation stresses and identifies gaps in knowledge which need to be addressed to ensure the safety of low water activity and desiccated food products.
  • Deltamethrin Residues in Milk and Cheese of Lactating Goats (Capra hircus)

    Marrone, Raffaele; Ramkumar, Abilasha; Smaldone, Giorgio; Rufrano, Domenico; Chirollo, Claudia; Veneziano, Vincenzo; Danaher, Martin; Anastasio, Aniello; University of Naples Federico II (MDPI AG, 2019-01-31)
    The distribution of pyrethroid insecticide deltamethrin (DLM) in goat milk and cheese (caciotta) following pour-on administration at the sheep dosage (DLMS-10 mL/60 kg body weight) and double dosage (DLMD-20 mL/60 kg body weight) was studied. DLM concentrations were measured in milk collected from study animals (No.14) before treatment and at 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 30, 36, 48, 56, until 168 h (7 days) post treatment and in caciotta cheese at 12 and 24 h post treatment. At both dosages, the maximum level of DLM residues in goat milk and cheese was below the maximum residue limit (MRL) of 20 μg kg−1 established for bovine milk (EU No 37/2010) at all time points. However, in terms of public health, higher DLM residues in cheese show that further specific studies should be performed on double dosage efficacy and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics properties of ectoparasites in lactating goats.
  • Investigation of the Causes of Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli PCR Positive and Culture Negative Samples

    Macori, Guerrino; McCarthy, Siobhán C.; Burgess, Catherine; Fanning, Séamus; Duffy, Geraldine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/F/629 (MDPI AG, 2020-04-18)
    Molecular methods may reveal the presence of pathogens in samples through the detection of specific target gene(s) associated with microorganisms, but often, the subsequent cultural isolation of the pathogen is not possible. This discrepancy may be related to low concentration of the cells, presence of dead cells, competitive microflora, injured cells and cells in a viable but non-culturable state, free DNA and the presence of free bacteriophages which can carry the target gene causing the PCR-positive/culture-negative results. Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) was used as a model for studying this phenomenon, based on the phage-encoded cytotoxins genes (Stx family) as the detection target in samples through real-time qPCR. Stx phages can be integrated in the STEC chromosome or can be isolated as free particles in the environment. In this study, a combination of PCR with culturing was used for investigating the presence of the stx1 and stx2 genes in 155 ovine recto-anal junction swab samples (method (a)-PCR). Samples which were PCR-positive and culture-negative were subjected to additional analyses including detection of dead STEC cells (method (b)-PCR-PMA dye assay), presence of Stx phages (method (c)-plaque assays) and inducible integrated phages (method (d)-phage induction). Method (a) showed that even though 121 samples gave a PCR-positive result (78%), only 68 samples yielded a culturable isolate (43.9%). Among the 53 (34.2%) PCR-positive/culture-negative samples, 21 (39.6%) samples were shown to have STEC dead cells only, eight (15.1%) had a combination of dead cells and inducible stx phage, while two samples (3.8%) had a combination of dead cells, inducible phage and free stx phage, and a further two samples had Stx1 free phages only (3.8%). It was thus possible to reduce the samples with no explanation to 20 (37.7% of 53 samples), representing a further step towards an improved understanding of the STEC PCR-positive/culture-negative phenomenon.
  • Molecular determinants of surface colonisation in diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC): from bacterial adhesion to biofilm formation

    Ageorges, Valentin; Monteiro, Ricardo; Leroy, Sabine; Burgess, Catherine; Pizza, Mariagrazia; Chaucheyras-durand, Frédérique; Desvaux, Mickaël; INRAE; European Union; RA-FEDER-Bpifrance; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-04-02)
    Escherichia coli is primarily known as a commensal colonising the gastrointestinal tract of infants very early in life but some strains being responsible for diarrhoea, which can be especially severe in young children. Intestinal pathogenic E. coli include six pathotypes of diarrhoeagenic E. coli (DEC), namely, the (i) enterotoxigenic E. coli, (ii) enteroaggregative E. coli, (iii) enteropathogenic E. coli, (iv) enterohemorragic E. coli, (v) enteroinvasive E. coli and (vi) diffusely adherent E. coli. Prior to human infection, DEC can be found in natural environments, animal reservoirs, food processing environments and contaminated food matrices. From an ecophysiological point of view, DEC thus deal with very different biotopes and biocoenoses all along the food chain. In this context, this review focuses on the wide range of surface molecular determinants acting as surface colonisation factors (SCFs) in DEC. In the first instance, SCFs can be broadly discriminated into (i) extracellular polysaccharides, (ii) extracellular DNA and (iii) surface proteins. Surface proteins constitute the most diverse group of SCFs broadly discriminated into (i) monomeric SCFs, such as autotransporter (AT) adhesins, inverted ATs, heat-resistant agglutinins or some moonlighting proteins, (ii) oligomeric SCFs, namely, the trimeric ATs and (iii) supramolecular SCFs, including flagella and numerous pili, e.g. the injectisome, type 4 pili, curli chaperone-usher pili or conjugative pili. This review also details the gene regulatory network of these numerous SCFs at the various stages as it occurs from pre-transcriptional to post-translocational levels, which remains to be fully elucidated in many cases.
  • The Effect of Organic Acid, Trisodium Phosphate and Essential Oil Component Immersion Treatments on the Microbiology of Cod (Gadus morhua) during Chilled Storage

    Smyth, Conor; Brunton, Nigel P.; Fogarty, Colin; Bolton, Declan; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; 13F458 (MDPI, 2018-12-08)
    Spoilage is a major issue for the seafood sector with the sale and exportation of fish limited by their short shelf-life. The immediate and storage effects of immersion (30 s at 20 °C) with 5% (w/v) citric acid (CA), 5% (v/v) lactic acid (LA), 5% (w/v) capric acid (CP) and 12% trisodium phosphate (TSP) (experiment 1) and essential oil components (EOC) (1% (v/v) citral (CIT), 1% (v/v) carvacrol (CAR), 1% (w/v) thymol (THY) and 1% (v/v) eugenol (EUG)) (experiment 2) on the concentrations of indicator (total viable counts (TVC) (mesophilic and psychrophilic) and total Enterobacteriaceae counts (TEC)), and spoilage organisms (Pseudomonas spp., lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Brochothrix thermosphacta, Photobacterium spp. and hydrogen sulphide producing bacteria (HSPB)) on cod (Gadus morhua) (stored aerobically at 2 °C) was investigated. There was no significant reduction for most treatment-bacteria combinations, with the following exceptions; TSP and TVCm (time t = 6), TSP and TVCp (t = 6), CP and LAB (t = 6, 8 and 10), CP and Br. thermosphacta (t = 4, 6, 8, 10, 14 and 16), TSP and Photobacterium spp. (t = 4), CAR and Br. thermosphacta (t = 6) and CAR and HSPB (t = 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18). Although the majority of treatments did not significantly (P > 0.05) reduce bacterial counts, the limited success with CP and CAR warrants further investigation.
  • Antimicrobial activity of natural compounds against listeria spp. and their effects on sensory attributes in salmon (Salmo salar) and cod (Gadus morhua)

    Pedrós-Garrido, Selene; Clemente, Isabel; Calanche, J. B.; Condón-Abanto, Santiago; Beltrán, J. A.; Lyng, J. G.; Brunton, N.; Bolton, Declan; Whyte, Paul; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-07-15)
    The application of natural preservatives on fresh fish has potential to extend shelf-life. In the present study, 8 essential oils (EOs) (lemon, lemongrass, lime, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme and rosemary) and 3 organic acids (OAs) (ascorbic, citric and lactic) were evaluated. The antimicrobial activity of these compounds was tested in-vitro against four confirmed Listeria spp. isolated from retail skin-packed salmon and cod. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) were established for each compound. Then, a sensory evaluation was performed by a panel of ‘expert assessors’ on cooked fish treated with all of the OAs and any 4 EOs with a MIC <0.8%. A series of descriptors were assigned to characterize the combination of each compound with cooked salmon or cod. The highest antimicrobial effect against all Listeria spp. was observed for lactic acid (0.31–2.5%), but treatment with this compound resulted in the development of organoleptically unacceptable changes in salmon or cod. The most acceptable OAs for salmon and cod were ascorbic acid (1.25%) and citric acid (0.63%) respectively, which were shown to enhance certain organoleptic characteristics. The most effective EO against all Listeria strains evaluated was oregano oil (0.2%) and it was considered suitable as a treatment for salmon. In contrast, none of the EOs tested was organoleptically acceptable in combination with cod because of their strong odours and flavours that masked the fresh attributes associated with this fish.
  • Cronobacter Sakazakii ISO 22964:2017 Testing of Milk Powders Using Commercially Available PCR

    Hunt, Karen; Jordan, Kieran; Legeay, Charlène (Teagasc, 2019-05)
    The detection of Cronobacter sakazakii in milk powder is important as a major health issue1 as it can survive for long periods in dry conditions2. Faster detection using PCR is possible and currently need to be compatible with traditionally standardised ISO methods. Viable cells are detected by PCR when dead cells and free DNA are diluted out, inhibited or destroyed. Biorad IQ–check DNA removal solution eliminates the detection of dead cells (based on endonuclease activity) or Biotecon Reagent D, (a light reactive aqueous reagent solution) is a dye designed to eliminate dead bacterial cell amplification, both avoid false-positive PCR results from dead cells. With ISO 20838: Real-Time PCR can be self-confirming and no further confirmation necessary with faster in house control and release of product quicker based on PCR results.
  • Comparative effect of different cooking methods on the physicochemical and sensory characteristics of high pressure processed marinated pork chops

    O'Neill, Ciara M.; Cruz-Romero, Malco C.; Duffy, Geraldine; Kerry, J. P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/031 (Elsevier, 2019-03-13)
    The objective of this study was to assess the effect of griddle and steam cooking on the physicochemical and sensory characteristics of high pressure processed (HPP) piri-piri marinated pork chops (MPC). Raw MPC that were HPP at 400 MPa had higher (P < 0.05) marinade absorption compared to untreated samples. After cooking, griddled MPC were significantly (P < 0.05) darker, less red, less yellow, tougher and had higher cook loss compared to steam cooked samples. The appearance of the griddled MPC was preferred while the texture, tenderness, juiciness and overall sensory acceptability (OSA) were preferred in steam cooked MPC. The increased marinade absorption in MPC that were HPP modified the fatty acid composition resulting in increased (P < 0.05) levels of oleic acid (C18:1c). Steam cooked MPC had a lower (P < 0.05) n-6: n-3 PUFA ratio and were preferred by the sensory panel compared to griddled MPC. Overall, from the cooking methods assessed steam cooking was the best cooking method for untreated and MPC that were HPP.
  • Spoilage indicator bacteria in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) stored on ice for 10 days

    Fogarty, Colin; Whyte, Paul; Brunton, Nigel; Lyng, James; Smyth, Conor; Fagan, John; Bolton, Declan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13F458 (Elsevier, 2018-08-02)
    This study investigated the growth of indicator and spoilage bacteria on whole Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) stored aerobically at 2 °C. On days 0, 2, 3, 6, 8 and 10 microbiological analysis was carried out on inner flesh and outer skin samples as well as outer skin swabs (25 cm2 surface areas). Mesophilic total viable counts (TVCm) on skin, flesh and swab samples increased from 1.9, 1.1 and 2.7 log10 CFUcm2 to 6.0, 5.1 and 5.7 log10 CFU/cm2 after 10 days, respectively. Psychrotrophic counts (TVCp), increased from 2.2, 1.8 and 3.1 log10 CFU/cm2 to 6.2, 5.3 and 5.9 log10 CFU/cm2, for skin, flesh and swab samples respectively. Hydrogen sulphide producing bacteria (HSPB), lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Pseudomonas spp., Brochothrix thermosphacta and Photobacterium spp. grew well with similar growth rates (mean generation times of 17.2–26 h). It was concluded that the shelf-life of salmon at 2 °C was approximately 10 days and that HSPB, LAB, Pseudomonas spp., Br. thermosphacta and Photobacterium spp. may be a better indicator of fish spoilage rather than TVC growth, with a count of 5–6 log10 CFU/cm2 indicating the end of shelf-life.
  • Prevalence and persistence of Listeria monocytogenes in premises and products of small food business operators in Northern Ireland

    Madden, Robert H; Hutchison, Mike; Jordan, Kieran; Pennone, Vincenzo; Gundogdu, Ozan; Corcionivoschi, Nicolae; SafeFood, The Food Safety Promotion Board; 04–2014 (Elsevier, 2017-12-14)
    Listeriosis is a foodborne disease, with a high mortality rate, that predominantly affects the elderly. Under European Union legislation, EC 2073/2005, food business operators are encouraged to undertake sampling to ensure that the food processing environment, and required to ensure that food products, are free of Listeria monocytogenes. To determine the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in smaller food processing facilities in Northern Ireland, 24 companies submitted six processing environment swabs and two food samples every two months for eighteen months (July 2015 to November 2016) for L. monocytogenes examination. The prevalence of L. monocytogenes was 4.6% in food samples, and 6.3% in processing environment swabs. Over the duration of the study, 96 isolates of L. monocytogenes were obtained, one from each positive sample, except for two meat samples that had >100 cfu/g, where two isolates were obtained from each sample. No seasonality in occurrence of L. monocytogenes was seen for food isolates but significantly higher numbers of positive processing environment swabs were found in the warmer months of May, July and September (p = .007). Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis revealed the presence of 27 pulsotypes; 9 pulsotypes were shared between different facilities and 9 were persistent. Based on a Combase predictive growth model, 77.5% (n = 130) of the foods tested were predicted to support the growth of L. monocytogenes. All of the isolates carried the pathogenicity genes inlA and actA and 71.4% carried qacH, which confers resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds which are frequently used in sanitizers. Whole genome sequencing of the isolates allowed multi-locus sequence typing to be undertaken. The data indicated that the sequence types identified included those with disease-causing ability, highlighting the disease-causing potential of the isolates.

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