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Survey on the presence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in ground beef from an industrial meat plant

Savi, R., Ricchi, M., Cammi, G., Garbarino, C., Leo, S., Pongolini, S., Arrigoni, N.
Veterinary microbiology 2015 v.177 no.3-4 pp. 403-408
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, beef cattle, cooking, cows, detection limit, enteritis, ground beef, humans, lymph nodes, meat consumption, meat processing plants, minced meat, muscles, paratuberculosis, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, slaughter, surveys, tissues
Paratuberculosis of ruminants is characterised by chronic enteritis but, at advanced stages of the disease, a systemic dissemination of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in tissues and organs can occur. MAP has been recovered from lymph nodes and muscles of clinical and sub-clinical cows. In most countries, dairy and beef cattle infected with paratuberculosis are routinely sent to slaughter and the consumption of their meat could be a possible route of human exposure to MAP. However, few studies on MAP in ground beef are currently available. During the period November 2013–March 2014 we carried out a survey on the ground beef produced in an industrial meat processing plant. One-hundred and forty samples of ground meat were analysed by IS900-qPCR and culture (VersaTrek System®). The limit of detection (LOD) of qPCR was 630 MAP cells/g (107 CFU/g) while the LOD for culture was 170–230 MAP cells/g (62–115 CFU/g). No samples were positive by direct IS900 qPCR, while two samples were positive by liquid culture. Our data suggest that the presence of live MAP in raw minced meat is possible. In order to avoid exposure for humans through the consumption of contaminated meat, proper cooking of meat is recommended.