Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 7, 2008
Publication Date: December 10, 2008
Citation: Luchansky, J.B. 2008. Tackling the true prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in 16 tons of frankfurters. [abstract]. Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting. p.1.
Given its ubiquity, persistence, and pathogenicity in our food supply, Listeria monocytogenes remains a serious threat to public health. To minimize the load and occurrence of the pathogen and concomitantly continue efforts to develop and implement effective interventions to ensure that an infectious dose of LM will not reach the consumer’s table, it is imperative to quantify the prevalence, levels, and types of this pathogen in target foods. To this end, we conducted a multi-collaborator study to quantify the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in frankfurters, a higher-risk, high-volume and mass produced food, consumed by a significant segment of the population, including those at elevated risk. The pathogen was recovered from 532 of 32,800 pounds/packages (1.6%) of frankfurters using the ARS package rinse method. The frankfurters were obtained by a third-party contractor from 12 volunteer producers. Enumeration, when possible, showed pathogen levels of about 70 to 190 MPN per package; about 90% of the 1100 retained isolates were serotype 1/2a and displayed the same pulsotype. These baseline data shed light on the prevalence of the pathogen in RTE frankfurters that have proven useful to risk assessors and regulators worldwide because of the design and scope of the study wherein these data were generated.