Prevalence and contamination patterns of Listeria monocytogenes in catfish processing environment and fresh fillets
Posted: March 10th, 2010 - 9:32am
Source: Food Microbiology
Catfish skins, intestines, fresh fillets, processing surfaces at different production stages, chiller water and non-food contact surfaces were sampled for Listeria monocytogenes and other Listeria species. Among 315 samples, prevalence of L. monocytogenes, L. innocua and a group of L. seeligeri-L. welshimeri-L. ivanovii was 21.6, 13.0 and 29.5%, respectively.No L. grayi was detected in this survey. While no L. monocytogenes strains were isolated from catfish skins and intestines, the strains were found with a frequency of 76.7% in chilled fresh catfish fillets and 43.3% in unchilled fillets. L. monocytogenes and Listeria spp. were also detected in fish contact surfaces such as deheading machine, trimming board, chiller water, conveyor belts at different stages, and fillet weighing table. Among L. monocytogenes, 1/2b (47.0%), 3b (16.0%) and 4c (14%) were the predominant serotypes isolated, whereas 4b, 4e, 1/2c and 1/2a were detected at much lower frequencies. Genotype analyses of L. monocytogenes isolates using serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC)-PCR revealed that chiller water represented an important contamination source of L. monocytogenes in the chilled catfish fillets of two processing facilities, whereas fillet weighing table significantly contributed to the catfish fillet contamination of the third facility. This study suggests that L. monocytogenes contamination in the processed catfish fillets originates from the processing environment, rather than directly from catfish. Results from this study can aid the catfish industry to develop a plant-specific proper cleaning and sanitation procedure for equipment and the processing environment designed to specifically target L. monocytogenes contamination.