Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2012-16


Prevalence, characterization and sources of Listeria monocytogenes in blue crab (Callinectus sapidus) meat and blue crab processing plants.




Pagadala, S; Parveen, S; Rippen, T; Luchansky, JB; Call, JE; Tamplin, ML; Porto-Fett, ACS


Food Microbiology
31 ( 2 ) : 263 - 270




Seven blue crab processing plants were sampled to determine the prevalence and sources of Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes for two years (2006-2007). A total of 488 raw crabs, 624 cooked crab meat (crab meat) and 624 environmental samples were tested by standard methods. Presumptive Listeria spp. were isolated from 19.5% of raw crabs, 10.8% of crab meat, and 69.5% of environmental samples. L. monocytogenes was isolated from 4.5% of raw crabs, 0.2% of crab meat, and 2.1% of environmental samples. Ninety-seven percent of the isolates were resistant to at least one of the ten antibiotics tested. Eight different serotypes were found among 76 L monocytogenes isolates tested with the most common being 4b, 1/2b and 1/2a. Automated EcoRI ribotyping differentiated 11 ribotypes among the 106 L. monocytogenes isolates. Based on ribotyping analysis, the distribution of the ribotypes in each processing plant had a unique contamination pattern. A total of 92 Apal and 88 Ascl pulsotypes among the 106 L monocytogenes isolates were found and distinct pulsotypes were observed in raw crab, crab meat and environmental samples. Ribotypes and serotypes recovered from crab processing plants included subtypes that have been associated with listeriosis cases in other food outbreaks. Our findings suggest that molecular methods may provide critical information about sources of L. monocytogenes in crab processing plants and will augment efforts to improve food safety control strategies such as targeting specific sources of contamination and use of aggressive detergents prior to sanitizing.

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