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Occurrence, distribution and diversity of Listeria monocytogenes contamination on beef and pig carcasses after slaughter

Demaître, N., Van Damme, I., De Zutter, L., Geeraerd, A.H., Rasschaert, G., De Reu, K.
Meat science 2020 v.169 pp. 108177
Enterobacteriaceae, Listeria monocytogenes, beef, hygiene, indicator species, pathogens, pig carcasses, slaughter, slaughterhouses, swine
In this study we investigated the prevalence and location of Listeria monocytogenes and hygiene indicator bacteria on beef and pig carcasses. Carcasses were sampled after slaughter and before cooling at eight and nine sites on the carcass, respectively. For each sample, detection and enumeration of Listeria was performed, as well as the enumeration of Total Aerobic Counts (TAC) and Enterobacteriaceae. The L. monocytogenes isolates were also typed to determine pulsotypes and clonal complexes (CC). L. monocytogenes was detected on 46% [95% CI: 35–56%] of beef and 22% [95% CI: 11–32%] of pig carcasses. Contamination levels at the different carcass sites differed considerably between beef and pigs. Genetic typing of strains suggests that carcass contamination originates from both incoming animals with transmission during slaughter practices as well as persistent (CC9) contamination from the slaughterhouse environment. These findings can be used to understand the complexity of introduction and persistence of this pathogen in slaughter facilities. Accurate correlation of L. monocytogenes presence proved unfeasible with any of the tested hygiene indicator bacteria.