2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Quantify the occurrence of foodborne pathogens in select foods:
a) Screen foods for the presence/absence of target pathogens
b) Determine levels of target pathogens of target pathogens
c) Subtype multiple isolates from each positive sample
d) Conduct proximate composition analyses on selected foods
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Work with FDA, USDA/ARS, and USDA/FSIS and associated industry partners to collect/purchase targeted food samples from retail establishments. Test samples for presence/absence of target pathogens, determine the levels of the pathogen(s) in each positive sample by direct plating or enrichment. Retain multiple isolates form each positive sample for subsequent molecular subtyping and perform chemical analyses on food samples as appropriate.
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) is a facultative intracellular bacterium that is the causative agent of listeriosis. It is one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens, with 20 to 30 percent of clinical infections resulting in death, and is one of the top five leading causes of death among foodborne pathogens. Over the past decade, the Federal government has focused significant resources on reducing foodborne illness from ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. However, despite these efforts, foodborne illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and associated with RTE foods continues. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have an interest in obtaining more current information on the association of Lm (i.e., rates, amounts, and subtypes) with RTE foods to evaluate the relative public health risk. This information is essential for both Agencies to effectively allocate resources to mitigate public health risks associated with Lm. To assist in accomplishing these objectives, the USDA, ARS has entered into a Specific Cooperative Agreement (SCA) with Drexel University. In brief, during this study, some 8,000 RTE food samples will be purchased at retail (e.g., smoked fish, deli meats, cheese, milk, raw fruits and vegetables, and deli salads) and analyzed to determine the prevalence, levels, and subtypes of Lm associated with RTE foods. Sampling will take place in four FoodNet sites (California, Maryland, Connecticut and Georgia) over a 1-year period from approximately December 2010 – December 2011.
Progress is monitored through conference calls and emails.