• A case of bovine raw milk contamination with Listeria monocytogenes

      Hunt, Karen; Drummond, Niall; Murphy, Mary; Butler, Francis; Buckley, James F.; Jordan, Kieran; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; European Union (Biomed Central, 06/07/2012)
      During routine sampling of bulk raw milk on a dairy farm, the pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes was found to be a contaminant, at numbers < 100 cfu/ml. A strain with an indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern was isolated from the bulk milk two months later. Environmental swabs taken at the dairy environment were negative for the presence of L. monocytogenes, indicating a possible case of excretion of the L. monocytogenes directly into the milk. Milk samples were collected from the individual cows and analysed, resulting in the identification of L. monocytogenes excretion (at 280 cfu/ml) from one of the 4 mammary quarters of one dairy cow out of 180. When the infected cow was isolated from the herd, no L. monocytogenes was detected from the remaining herd. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern of the strain from the individual cow was indistinguishable from that originally isolated from the bulk milk. The infected cow did not show any clinical signs of disease, nor did the appearance of the milk have any physical abnormalities. Antibiotic treatment of the infected mammary quarter was found to be ineffective. This study shows that there can be risks associated with direct contamination of raw milk with L. monocytogenes.
    • 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.
    • Determination of Listeria monocytogenes numbers at less than 10 cfu/g

      Hunt, Karen; Vacelet, M.; Jordan, Kieran; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Dairy Processing Technology Centre; 11/F/008; TC 2014 0016. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 09/06/2017)
      Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that causes a relatively rare foodborne disease called listeriosis, with a high mortality rate of 20%-30% and an undefined dose response. Current European Union regulations permit up to 100 colony-forming units (cfu)/g in food at the end of its shelf life, where the food has been shown not to support the growth of this pathogenic bacterium. Therefore, enumeration of L. monocytogenes at low numbers in food is important. The objective of this study was to reduce the detection limit of L. monocytogenes in food by a factor of 10. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 11290-2 method for enumeration of L. monocytogenes in food recommends spreading 0.1 mL of a 1:10 dilution of the food on the surface of an agar plate (detection limit 100 cfu/g), or 1.0 mL spread in equal parts on the surface of three agar plates (detection limit: 10 cfu/g). The pour-plate method (using 1 or 10 mL of an appropriate dilution) was compared to the spread-plate method using the ISO-approved chromogenic medium Agar Listeria according to Ottaviani and Agosti (ALOA). Using the pour-plate method, the colony morphology and halo formation were similar to the spread-plate method from pure cultures and inoculated foods. Using the pour-plate method in a 140 mm Petri dish, 10 mL of a 1:10 dilution of food allowed determination of numbers as low as 1 cfu/g. Applying this method, L. monocytogenes in naturally contaminated food samples were enumerated at numbers as low as 1-9 cfu/g.
    • Listeria monocytogenes in Milk Products

      Jordan, Kieran; Hunt, Karen; Dalmasso, Marion (Springer International Publishing, 2016-04-13)
      Milk and milk products are frequently identified as vectors for transmission of Listeria monocytogenes. Milk can be contaminated at farm level either by indirect external contamination from the farm environment or less frequently by direct contamination of the milk from infection in the animal. Pasteurisation of milk will kill L. monocytogenes, but post-pasteurisation contamination, consumption of unpasteurised milk and manufacture of unpasteurised milk products can lead to milk being the cause of outbreaks of listeriosis. Therefore, there is a concern that L. monocytogenes in milk could lead to a public health risk. To protect against this risk, there is a need for awareness surrounding the issues, hygienic practices to reduce the risk and adequate sampling and analysis to verify that the risk is controlled. This review will highlight the issues surrounding L. monocytogenes in milk and milk products, including possible control measures. It will therefore create awareness about L. monocytogenes, contributing to protection of public health.
    • Occurrence and identification of spore-forming bacteria in skim-milk powders

      Li, Fang; Hunt, Karen; Van Hoorde, Koenraad; Butler, Francis; Jordan, Kieran; Tobin, John; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Enterprise Ireland; 14/F/883; TC 2014 0016 (Elsevier, 2019-05-28)
      The different customer and regulatory specifications for mesophilic and thermophilic aerobic and anaerobic spore numbers in skim-milk powder, in addition to some specifications on specific spore-forming bacteria, such as Bacillus cereus, can be challenging for the industry to meet. Twenty-two samples of medium-heat skim-milk spray-dried powder from eight sources were analysed in triplicate with 16 bacterial and spore enumeration tests to understand the variety of spore-forming bacteria population. Using 16S rDNA sequencing, the species were identified for 269 isolates that were representative of the various tests. Of the isolates identified, 68% were Bacillus licheniformis, a facultative anaerobe that can survive and grow at mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures, making it difficult to eliminate in manufacturing environments. Using whole genome sequencing, 16 of 23 isolates identified as B. licheniformis by 16S sequencing were confirmed as B. licheniformis, four were identified as Bacillus paralicheniformis and three were identified as Bacillus sp. H15-1.