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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTERVENTIONS TO REDUCE FOODBORNE PATHOGENS IN SWINE AND CATTLE

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Title: Survey of Clostridium difficile in retail seafood in College Station, Texas

Authors
item Norman, Keri -
item Harvey, Roger
item Andrews, Kathleen
item Hume, Michael
item Callaway, Todd
item Anderson, Robin
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 22, 2014
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Citation: Norman, K.N., Harvey, R.B., Andrews, K., Hume, M.E., Callaway, T.R., Anderson, R.C., Nisbet, D.J. 2014. Survey of Clostridium difficile in retail seafood in College Station, Texas. Food Additives & Contaminants. 31(6):1127-1129.

Interpretive Summary: Clostridium difficile (Cd) is a bacterium that causes disease and death in humans, and historically, the infection was acquired during hospital stays. Recently, more virulent strains that are community-acquired have emerged. Although the origin of the new strains is unknown, some speculate they are food-associated. In the present study, we sampled retail seafood in College Station, Texas, to determine the prevalence of Cd and detected low levels of Cd from seafood products (4.5%). Although not conclusive, these findings are important because they decrease the likelihood that Cd infections come from food sources.

Technical Abstract: The incidence and severity of disease associated with toxigenic Clostridium difficile have increased in hospitals in North America with the emergence of newer, more virulent strains. Toxigenic C. difficile has been isolated from food animals and retail meat with potential implications of transfer to humans. The objective of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of C. difficile in retail seafood from College Station, Texas, grocery stores. Clostridium difficile was found in 4.5% (3/67) of shellfish and finfish samples. The positive samples included one each from fresh mussel, frozen salmon, and frozen shrimp. Isolates were characterized as toxinotype V and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis gel type-NAP7. Susceptibilities to 11 antimicrobial agents were identical for the mussel and salmon isolates and were sensitive to 8 of 11 antimicrobials (including ampicillin) and intermediate to clindamycin. However, the shrimp isolate was resistant to clindamycin and ampicillin. This study demonstrates that seafood, like other food commodities, can be contaminated by C. difficile.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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