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Salmonella Contamination in Ready-to-Eat Tilapia Sashimi Processing Plants

Wang, Chia-Lan, Chen, Bang-Yuan, Hsu, Chia-Tzu, Wu, Rayean, Chou, Chung-Hsi
Journal of food protection 2019 v.82 no.2 pp. 256-261
Salmonella, antibiotic resistance, disinfection, food pathogens, freezing, hemorrhage, packaging, processing time, ready-to-eat foods, salmonellosis, sanitation, serotypes, washing, zoonoses, Taiwan
In this study, we investigated contamination rates and possible contamination routes of Salmonella in two typical tilapia sashimi processing plants in Taiwan. We found that the overall isolation rate was 5.0% (n = 61), from a total of 1,218 samples collected in a year from different processing sections (freezing, scaling and bleeding, visceral removal, washing and disinfection, and packaging) and from different operating times (before processing and 3 and 6 h after processing began). In plant A, which is a relatively well-operated plant compared with plant B, Salmonella was only found in the freezing, scaling and bleeding, and visceral removal sections, with isolation rates ranging from 0 to 9.3%. No Salmonella was identified in the final ready-to-eat products at plant A. In plant B, Salmonella was found in all sections and in the final products, with isolation rates ranging from 4.6 to 36.1%. Regarding the processing times, the contamination rates increased significantly (P < 0.05) 3 h after processing began in plant B. Among the isolates, 10 serotypes were detected, some of which are commonly observed in human salmonellosis cases in Taiwan, indicating a risk of zoonoses. However, only four isolates showed antimicrobial resistance in the current study. With molecular subtyping, we observed accumulated and persistent Salmonellae contamination patterns in plant B. These results suggest that inadequate sanitation impairs the foodborne pathogen control program in tilapia sashimi plants.